WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Wednesday ordered the grounding of all Boeing Co 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 aircraft after a crash in Ethiopia that killed 157 people and rising pressure from U.S. lawmakers and others to join regulators around the world.
The Federal Aviation Administration said special permits may be issued for non-passenger flights on an as-needed basis.
The FAA held meetings on the issue Wednesday after Canada announced it had become the last major country to ground the jets after two fatal crashes since October. The FAA notified airlines minutes before Trump made the announcement.
No Boeing 737 Max jets operate at the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids, an airport spokeswoman said.
United Airlines, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines all fly versions of the 737 MAX. American, with 25 737 MAX aircraft, said it will be “working to re-book customers as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience.”
Boeing said it supports the action to temporarily ground 737 MAX operations after it consulted with the FAA, the National Transportation Safety Board and its customers.
Trump said jets in the air could fly to their destinations. The reversal came less than a day after U.S. regulators had again insisted the aircraft was safe.
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao flew aboard a 737 MAX on Tuesday.
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“The FAA is prepared to make an announcement very shortly regarding the new information and physical evidence that we’ve received from the site and from other locations, and through a couple of other complaints,” Trump said.
The New York Times reported Wednesday that the FAA had “newly refined satellite data” of the Ethiopian Airlines crash to underscore its decision to ground the 737 MAX jets.