President Donald Trump has announced Wednesday March 13th, that the U S would follow other countries in the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft, following Sunday’s March 10th crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in Addis Ababa.
In a statement, the US Federal Aviation Administration confirmed that it is ordering a temporary grounding of Boeing 737 Max aircraft, citing "new evidence collected at the site and analyzed today," and "refined satellite data."
With this announcement, the US joins a growing number of countries that have grounded the aircraft, as authorities investigate whether the plane itself had played a role in last weekend’s disaster, which killed 157 people, and the October 2018 crash of Lion Air Flight 610, which killed 189 people.
The Boeing 737 Max was the plane involved in both crashes, leading some to speculate that a flaw in the aircraft itself could have played a role. However, other aviation safety experts have argued that pilot error, and not the plane and its software, is more likely to blame for the two tragedies.
Until now, a total of 50 countries has either grounded or banned the Boeing 737 Max 8 planes. Of the more than 370 Boeing 737 Max jets in global fleets, some 74 are flown by US airlines, these include United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and American Airlines.
With so many countries now barring the aircraft from flying, for travellers, this means delays and cancellations, which could grow as airlines scramble to reassign flights to other planes in their fleet.
For Investors, experts say that the 737 Max was supposed to boost Boeing's fortunes for years to come, but the groundings will have a far-reaching financial impact, at least in the short term. According to the Wall Street Journal, Boeing shares have dropped nearly 11% since the crash, but are still up 17 % overall in 2019.
Meanwhile, the black boxes from the Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 will arrive in Paris for analysis on the morning of Thursday March 14th, a vital clue into what caused the Nairobi-bound aircraft to crash six minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa. The French Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety will conduct the investigation into the flight recorders.