WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. issued an emergency order Wednesday grounding all Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 aircraft "effective immediately," in the wake of the crash of an Ethiopian Airliner that killed 157 people, President Donald Trump said.
Many nations had already barred the Boeing 737 Max 8 from its airspace, but until Trump's announcement, the Federal Aviation Administration had said it didn't have any data to show the jets are unsafe. Trump cited "new information" that had come to light in the ongoing investigation into incident. He did not elaborate.
"All of those planes are grounded, effective immediately," Trump said during a scheduled briefing on border security.
Around 350 airplanes are affected by the order worldwide, according Foreign Policy.
American Airlines has 24 aircraft affected by the grounding order, the company said in a statement.
“We appreciate the FAA’s partnership, and will continue to work closely with them, the Department of Transportation, National Transportation Safety Board and other regulatory authorities, as well as our aircraft and engine manufacturers,” American said in a statement Wednesday. “Our teams will make every effort to rebook customers as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience.”
According to AA.com, the airline flies 22 different types of planes. Within those types are eight types of Boeing aircraft, including the 737 MAX.
American Airlines is the sole carrier for flights out of Waterloo Regional Airport, though it contracts with Envoy Air to send smaller planes than the 737 Max. Commercial aircraft models currently scheduled to arrive or depart from the Waterloo airport are the Embraer ERJ-145 and the Embraer ERJ-135.
Keith Kaspari, director of aviation at Waterloo Regional Airport, said his airport doesn't get any 737 Max planes flying in or out, but noted it was possible connecting flights from Chicago may fly on the 737 Max.
"Of course, a major hub like Chicago O'Hare, for those routes with regard to the connections, I'm not sure if any of those passengers who have been flying over the last couple of days, if that did impact any Cedar Valley passengers," Kaspari said. "I would have no idea."
Trump said said all affected airlines and pilots had been notified.
Trump said the safety of the American people is of "paramount concern," and added that the FAA would soon put out a statement on the action.
Trump said the decision to ground the aircraft "didn't have to be made, but we thought it was the right decision."
The president said the announcement was coordinated with aviation officials in Canada, U.S. carriers and aircraft manufacturer Boeing.
"Boeing is an incredible company," Trump said. "They are working very, very hard right now and hopefully they'll quickly come up with an answer."
In a statement, Boeing said it "continues to have full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX." The company added it had decided "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."
Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said the company was "supporting this proactive step out of an abundance of caution."
Associated Press writers Deb Riechmann and Kevin Freking as well as Courier reporters Jeff Reinitz and Amie Rivers contributed to this report.