President Trump Grounds All Boeing 737 Max 8, 9 Planes In US

L.P. Phillips
March 13, 2019 - 1:37 pm

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

DALLAS (1080 KRLD/AP) - President Trump says he is issuing an "emergency order" grounding all Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 aircraft in the US after the deadly crash in Ethiopia this past weekend.

"Safety is our paramount concern," said Trump. 

Any of the planes currently in air will go to their destination and then be grounded. Mr. Trump says the airlines agree with the action.

The groundings will affect all domestic airlines such as Southwest and American, which include the 737 MAX as a significant part of their fleets. 

Southwest flies 34 of the Max 8s, and American Airlines has 24 aircraft affected.

"Any airline has 'X' number of planes on the ground for mechanical reasons at any one time. But they don't have that many." said Denny Kelly, a retired airline pilot, and aviation expert. "And they program 'X' number of airlines to be on the ground for required maintenance and this kind of thing. But to have 34, 24 airplanes on the ground that you can't fly, that's huge."

Southwest says it "operates a fleet of more than 750 Boeing 737s, and the 34 MAX 8 aircraft account for less than five percent of our daily flights." Both airlines declined to answer questions and say they continue to study the FAA order.

Many nations in the world had already barred the Boeing 737 Max 8 from its airspace, but until now, the Federal Aviation Administration had been saying that it didn't have any data to show the jets are unsafe.

Fort Worth-based American Airlines issued a statement saying: "Earlier today the FAA informed us that based on new information, they are grounding the United States Boeing 737 MAX fleet out of an abundance of caution. American Airlines has 24 aircraft affected by this directive. 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. Our teams will be working to rebook customers as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience."

In consultation with the FAA, NTSB and its customers, Boeing supports the action to temporarily ground 737 MAX Operations. 

*This is a developing story. Follow 1080 KRLD for more information.