After consulting with the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, and airlines, Boeing is throwing its support behind a decision to ground its 737 Max planes.
“Boeing has determined — out of an abundance of caution and in order to reassure the flying public of the aircraft’s safety — to recommend to the FAA the temporary suspension of operations of the entire global fleet of 371 737 MAX aircraft,” the company said in a statement.
Boeing’s statement comes amid mounting pressure for the FAA to ground Boeing’s planes and belies the company’s reported efforts behind the scenes to keep its planes aloft — at least in the United States.
The company’s chief executive, Dennis A. Muilenburg, reportedly called from Chicago to assure President Trump about the safety of the planes, which have been involved in crashes on flights operated by Nigerian and Indonesian airline carriers, according to a report in The New York Times.
According to the Times report, the call had been planned since Monday, but came after the President had called the safety of passenger airlines into question — blaming an overabundance of technology for the recent spate of accidents.
Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly. Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT. I see it all the time in many products. Always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simpler is far better. Split second decisions are….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 12, 2019
Indeed, Boeing’s acquiescence arrives even as President Donald Trump was readying an emergency order that would ground the planes.
BREAKING: Trump: "We're going to be issuing an emergency order of prohibition regarding all flights of the 737 max 8 and 737 max 9."
— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) March 13, 2019
“We are supporting this proactive step out of an abundance of caution. Safety is a core value at Boeing for as long as we have been building airplanes; and it always will be. There is no greater priority for our company and our industry,” according to a statement from Boeing. “We are doing everything we can to understand the cause of the accidents in partnership with the investigators, deploy safety enhancements and help ensure this does not happen again.”
And the Federal Aviation Administration has now grounded the planes.
Here’s the statement from the FAA
The FAA is ordering the temporary grounding of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft operated by U.S. airlines or in U.S. territory. The agency made this decision as a result of the data gathering process and new evidence collected at the site and analyzed today. This evidence, together with newly refined satellite data available to FAA this morning, led to this decision.
The grounding will remain in effect pending further investigation, including examination of information from the aircraft’s flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders. An FAA team is in Ethiopia assisting the NTSB as parties to the investigation of the Flight 302 accident. The agency will continue to investigate.