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President Trump issues emergency order to ground all Boeing Max 8 and 9 aircraft – effective immediately


The president told reporters that the FAA and Boeing agreed with the action

Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 4:59 ET: This story has been updated with additional information about the statements made by the FAA and Boeing on Tuesday. Information about Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, Lion Air Flight JT610, and Canada's decision to ground the aircraft was also added.

President Donald Trump issued an emergency order to ground immediately all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft following two deadly crashes of the planes overseas.

"All of those planes are grounded, effective immediately," Trump told reporters Wednesday at the White House.

Under the order, all Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 9 aircraft that are currently in the air will continue to their scheduled destinations and then be grounded upon arrival.

"Pilots have been notified, airlines have been all notified. Airlines are agreeing with this. The safety of the American people and all people is our paramount concern," Trump said.

The president said that it was a difficult decision but after speaking with airline officials from all over the world, they had agreed that it was the right thing to do. The Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing agreed with the action, Trump added.

"The United States has the greatest record in the world of aviation and we want to keep it that way. So I didn't want to take any chances," he said. "We didn't have to make this decision today. We could've delayed it, we maybe didn't have to make it at all. But I felt it was important both psychologically and in a lot of other ways."

The FAA's grounding of the aircraft was announced shortly after Canada announced it was grounding all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Airlines in other countries, including the entire European Union, Ethiopia, China, Indonesia, Australia, Brazil and Iceland, grounded the jetliner on Monday.

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed on Sunday just minutes after takeoff, killing all 157 on board the new Boeing 737 MAX 8.

On October 29, 189 passengers and crew aboard Lion Air Flight JT610 in Indonesia crashed into the Java Sea shortly after takeoff. Everyone on board the Boeing 737 MAX 8 died.

Among the U.S. airlines that use Boeing 737 Max planes are Southwest Airlines, which operates 34 Max 8 planes; American Airlines, which operates 24 Max 8 planes; and United Airlines, which operates 14 Max 9 planes.

What did the FAA say?

The FAA issued a statement that it had ordered the temporary grounding of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft "as a result of data gathering process and new evidence collected at the site and analyzed today," the agency said Wednesday.

"This evidence, together with newly refined satellite data available to FAA this morning, led to the decision," the statement said.

"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."

What did Boeing say?

In a statement Wednesday afternoon, Boeing said "it continues to have full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX."

"However, after consultation with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and aviation authorities and its customers around the world, 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.

"On behalf of the entire Boeing team, we extend our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of those who have lost their lives in these two tragic accidents," Boeing CEO and Chairman Dennis Muilenburg said in the statement.

"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. 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."

What else?

The decision to ground the aircraft came after the FAA had issued a previous statement that its review of all available data "shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft."

Boeing issued a similar statement the same day that safety is the company's "number one priority and we have full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX."

We understand that regulatory agencies and customers have made decisions that they believe are most appropriate for their home markets," adding that it found no reason to issue any new guidance to operators.

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