Trump orders FAA to ground Boeing Max 8 and 9 planes after crashes

March 13, 2019

President Trump belatedly ordered the grounding Wednesday of all Boeing 737 Max 8 jetliners after a deadly crash last weekend in Ethiopia.

Mr. Trump said he had spoken with federal transportation officials and executives from Boeing.

“They are all in agreement with the action,” the president told reporters. “The safety of the American people, and all people, is our paramount concern.”

Any plane currently in the air will go to its destination and then be grounded, the president said.

“Pilots have been notified. Airlines have been all notified,” Mr. Trump said at the White House.

The Ethiopia crash followed a similar, Lion Air Max 8 disaster in Indonesia in October, raising questions about pilots’ ability to control the model of planes.

European countries and officials in other parts of the world grounded the planes, and Canada followed suit Wednesday, leaving the U.S. virtually alone.

Mr. Trump said the FAA decided to ground them, too, but he stressed that Boeing remains an “incredible company.”

“They are working very, very hard right now,” Mr. Trump said. “Until they do, the planes are grounded.”

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg had spoken by phone with the president on Tuesday, after which the FAA said it saw no reason to ground the plane. But the president said he spoke again with Boeing officials Wednesday, after the 737s had been suspended from nearly all airspace around the world except the U.S.