Washington: The United States issued an emergency order to ground all Boeing 737 Max aircraft, a decision a number of countries, including India, have taken following the second deadly crash of the plane in less than five months in Ethiopia.
"All those planes are grounded immediately," US President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday.
The United States is one of the major last countries to have taken a decision to ground Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 aircraft. These planes would be grounded till further orders, he said.
Several other countries, including India, China and all of Europe, have ordered the jets off air after the crash of a Boeing 737 Max 8 in Ethiopia on Sunday. The aircraft crashed minutes after takeoff, killing all 157 people on board. Four Indians were among those killed.
That crash was the second involving the jet, after a 787 Max operated by Lion Air, an Indonesian carrier, crashed into the Java Sea in October similarly and 189 people died.
Trump's announcement came as political and international pressure on the airliner started to build.
He said all 737 Max planes currently in the air would be grounded upon reaching their destination. Boeing, the company, agree with the action, he added.
"Safety is our paramount concern," Trump added.
He expressed hope that Boeing will get to the bottom of the problem with the planes, but until then the jets will remain grounded.
Boeing said "out of an abundance of caution", it has decided to recommend to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) the temporary suspension of operations of the entire global fleet of the jets.
"On behalf of the entire Boeing team, we extend our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of those who have lost their lives in these two tragic accidents," said Dennis Muilenburg, president, CEO, and chairman of Boeing Company.
"We are supporting this proactive step out of an abundance of caution. Safety is a core value at Boeing for as long as we have been building airplanes; and it always will be. There is no greater priority for our company and our industry. We are doing everything we can to understand the cause of the accidents in partnership with the investigators, deploy safety enhancements and help ensure this does not happen again," he said.
The FAA has ordered the temporary grounding of Boeing 737 Max operated by US airlines or in US territory.
The agency made this decision as a result of the data gathering process and new evidence collected at the site and analyzed ann Wednesday. This evidence, together with newly refined satellite data available to FAA, led to this decision, it said.
The grounding will remain in effect pending further investigation, including examination of information from the aircraft's flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders.
The FAA had said a tweet earlier Wednesday that its "review shows no systematic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft". It, however, had added that it will take "immediate and appropriate action" if issues affecting the airworthiness of the aircraft were identified.
An FAA team is in Ethiopia assisting the National Transportation Safety Board as parties to the investigation of the Flight 302 accident. The agency will continue to investigate. PTI