WASHINGTON - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that the United States was going to order the grounding of all Boeing Co 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 aircraft after a crash in Ethiopia that killed 157 people after rising pressure from U.S. lawmakers and others to join regulators around the world.
“We are going to be issuing an emergency order of prohibition to ground all flights of the 737 MAX 8 and the 737 MAX 9 and planes associated with that line,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
The Federal Aviation Administration held urgent meetings on Wednesday on the issue after Canada announced it become the last major country to ground the flight after two fatal crashes since October. The FAA notified airlines minutes before Trump made the announcement.
United Airlines, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines Co all fly versions of the 737 MAX.
American, with 25 737 MAX airplanes, 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, NTSB and its customers. Boeing shares were down 2 percent.
Trump said planes in the air could fly to their destinations. The reversal came less than a day after U.S. regulators had again insisted the plane was safe. Even Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao flew aboard a 737 MAX on Tuesday.
“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.