Boeing 737 Max 8 planes grounded after Ethiopian crash

By Meg Wagner, Brian Ries, Veronica Rocha and Ben Westcott, CNN

Updated 1103 GMT (1903 HKT) March 14, 2019
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11:17 a.m. ET, March 12, 2019

Boeing says it has "full confidence" in its 737 MAX jets and isn't issuing new guidance

From CNN' Jim Sciutto

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Boeing said it has "full confidence in the safety" of it 737 MAX jets and it is not issuing any new guidance.

"It is also important to note that the Federal Aviation Administration is not mandating any further action at this time, and based on the information currently available, we do not have any basis to issue new guidance to operators," the company said in a statement.

Here's the full statement:

“Safety is Boeing’s number one priority and we have full confidence in the safety of the MAX. We understand that regulatory agencies and customers have made decisions that they believe are most appropriate for their home markets. We’ll continue to engage with all of them to ensure they have the information they need to have confidence in operating their fleets or returning them to service. It is also important to note that the Federal Aviation Administration is not mandating any further action at this time, and based on the information currently available, we do not have any basis to issue new guidance to operators.”

3:26 p.m. ET, March 13, 2019

Trump oversaw Boeing 737 MAX sale less than 2 weeks ago in Vietnam 

From CNN's Allison Malloy and Kevin Liptak

Boeing’s 737 Max airplanes are coming under fresh scrutiny for their safety record. But it was only two weeks ago that President Trump oversaw the sale of 100 of the planes while in Hanoi for a summit with Kim Jong Un.

Ahead of his nuclear talks, Trump participated in a trade signing ceremony with a number of airline executives inside the Vietnamese presidential palace.

Among them was Kevin McAllister, executive vice president of The Boeing Company and president and chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

One of the agreements was between Boeing and VietJet, a low-cost airline based in Hanoi. The deal was for 100 of the 737 Max planes — 80 of the Max 10 variety, and 20 of the Max 8, the aircraft now under new scrutiny following crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia.

Boeing said the order was worth $12.7 billion. Now, Vietnam is saying the safety issues must be resolved before the planes can fly.

“The first aircraft [in the order] is supposed to be delivered in October,” said Đinh Việt Thắng, the chief of Vietnam’s Civil Aviation Authority, according to Vietnam News. “This morning, we had a meeting about this issue and came to the decision that we will not be reviewing licenses for the use of Boeing 737 MAX planes until the causes for the crashes are identified and the US Federal Aviation Administration takes proper remedying measures.”

10:53 a.m. ET, March 12, 2019

Elizabeth Warren: The FAA must "immediately ground this plane"

From CNN's MJ Lee

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, is calling on the Federal Aviation Administration to ground 737 Max 8 planes in the US.

"While we do not know the causes of these crashes, serious questions have been raised about whether these planes were pressed into service without additional pilot training in order to save money," she said in a statement.

Warren is also calling for congressional hearings.

Here's her full statement:

Dozens of Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes fly daily in the United States. The United Kingdom, China, Australia, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia and others have already grounded the 737 MAX. The FAA should follow their lead, reverse their decision, and immediately ground this plane in the United States until its safety can be assured.  
The world has now witnessed the second tragic crash of one of these planes in less than six months. While we do not know the causes of these crashes, serious questions have been raised about whether these planes were pressed into service without additional pilot training in order to save money. The FAA itself has indicated that software updates are likely coming. Any necessary changes must be made before, not after, more flights occur and more lives are potentially endangered. 
The Boeing 737 MAX 8 is a major driver of Boeing profits. In the coming weeks and months, Congress should hold hearings on whether an Administration that famously refused to stand up to Saudi Arabia to protect Boeing arms sales has once again put lives at risk for the same reason. But that is a question to be answered another day. Today, immediately, the FAA needs to get these planes out of the sky."
11:00 a.m. ET, March 12, 2019

Ethiopian Airlines plane had "flight control problems," airline CEO says

From CNN’s Richard Quest

CNN
CNN

The pilots of the doomed Ethiopian Airlines flight told air traffic control they were having “flight control problems” before the crash, airline CEO Tewolde GebreMariam told CNN’s Richard Quest Tuesday.

That suggests the plane was not responding to pilots’ inputs and they were losing control of the aircraft, Quest explains.

GebreMariam said the flight data recorders “will be sent overseas,” rather than being read in Ethiopia, which does not have the technical capability to do it. He did not say where, specifically, they would be read.

Pilots were aware of airworthiness directive issued after the Lion Air crash in October and had had additional training, he said.

10:40 a.m. ET, March 12, 2019

British carrier TUI grounds all Boeing 737 MAX 8s

From CNN’s Martin Goillandeau

TUI Airways -- one of the UK's largest air carriers -- just issued a statement confirming that all of its 737 MAX 8 aircraft operating in the UK have been grounded.

That decision follows guidance from the UK regulatory authorities, the carrier said.

It added, "Any customers due to fly home today on a 737 MAX 8 from their holiday will be flown back on another aircraft. Customers due to travel in the coming days will also travel on holiday as planned on other aircraft. The safety and wellbeing of our customers and staff has remained our primary concern."

10:34 a.m. ET, March 12, 2019

MAX 8 planes on their way to the UK are now turning back

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy

When the UK announced a ban on all Boeing 737 MAX jets this morning, some of the MAX 8 jets were already en route to land at UK airports or travel through UK airspaces.

At least least two of those flights now appear to be turning back.

Turkish Airlines 1997 was en route from Istanbul to London Gatwick when it changed course:

And Turkish Airlines 1969 was on its way to Birmingham from Istanbul:

10:26 a.m. ET, March 12, 2019

NTSB visited Ethiopia crash site today

From CNN’s David McKenzie

The US National Transportation Safety Board visited the Ethiopian Airlines crash site today, according to Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority official Amdeye Ayalew.

The Nairobi, Kenya-bound plane went down within minutes of taking off from Addis Ababa.

The crash killed 157 people, seven of them crew members and one a security official.

10:19 a.m. ET, March 12, 2019

3 senators call on FAA to ground Boeing 737 MAX 8

From CNN's Phil Mattingly

Sen. Mitt Romney, in a tweet, is calling for the FAA to ground the Boeing 737 MAX 8. He’s the first Republican senator to say the aircraft that was involved in two recent crashes should be grounded. 

He joins Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Dianne Feinstein.

See the tweet:

What Blumenthal said:

“All Boeing 737 Max 8s should be grounded until the FAA can assure American travelers that these planes are safe.... These planes must be grounded immediately, and airlines should work expeditiously to minimize disruption and accommodate customers whose travel is impacted.”

What Feinstein said:

“Until the cause of the crash is known and it’s clear that similar risks aren’t present in the domestic fleet, I believe all Boeing 737 Max 8 series aircraft operating in the United States should be temporarily grounded. This aircraft model represents only a small fraction of the domestic fleet, and several other countries have already taken this important step, including China and Indonesia.”

10:15 a.m. ET, March 12, 2019

Brazil's GOL Linhas Aereas suspends MAX 8 flights

From CNN's Paul Murphy and Tatiana Arias

 

Brazil’s GOL Linhas Aereas just announced on Twitter that it is temporarily suspending commercial operations of its Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircrafts.