FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the Federal Aviation Administration is grounding all Boeing 737 MAX planes “effective immediately.”
The FAA late Wednesday said it decided to issue the grounding order because of enhanced satellite tracking data and physical evidence on the ground that linked the Ethiopian jets movements to those of an Indonesian Lion Air flight that plunged into the Java Sea in October and killed 189 people.
The announcement follows the deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash over the weekend which killed all 157 people on board.
“All planes now in the air will reach their destination and then be grounded,” the president said.
The cause of the Ethiopian Airlines crash remains under investigation. As a trusted supplier to Boeing on the 737 MAX, we stand ready to provide support and assistance to the investigation if needed. Any further inquiries regarding this matter should be directed to Boeing.
“Boeing has determined — out of an abundance of caution and in order to reassure the flying public of the aircraft’s safety — to recommend to the FAA the temporary suspension of operations of the entire global fleet of 371 737 MAX aircraft.”
BAE Systems operates a production facility near Fort Wayne International Airport. As the 737 MAX series was developed, BAE received the contract to produce spoiler control units for the aircraft — parts that affect the lift of the plane.
American Airlines, who flies a number of the aircrafts in and out of Miami, scrambled to rebook passengers on different aircrafts.
“Safety first,” said traveler Michael Duran. “Inconvenient, but safety first.”
By late Wednesday afternoon, 19 American Airlines flights had been cancelled, with the airlines struggling to get people on their way.
Travelers were obviously frustrated with the longer waits but most seemed to understand why they were happening.
“If there is a concern about safety, it only makes sense for the FAA to keep the passengers safe,” said traveler Paul Bonucci.
Earlier in the day, Broward County Mayor Mark Bogen had said that he wanted to ban the aircraft from landing at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport, after two international crashes involving the jet and undisclosed complaints from American pilots who say they’ve reported similar problems that were never disclosed to the public.
“My interest is to protect the public until we can find the cause of these crashes and problems with the aircraft. If we can’t legally stop the aircraft from landing here in Fort Lauderdale, then I’ve asked the County Attorney to amend our contracts with airlines flying the jet and I want warning signs placed at terminal gates so passengers will know they’re boarding this type of aircraft,” said the Mayor.
Mayor Bogen had placed the item on Tuesday’s agenda for discussion and a vote by the nine-member Broward Board of County Commissioners.
Aviation authorities in most of Europe as well as Australia, Indonesia and China have barred the planes from their airspace. A growing number of airlines have also announced they won’t fly the planes until they know what happened in Sunday’s fatal crash in Ethiopia.
“More than three hundred people have died in the past six months on these planes. I don’t want them here until they’re proven safe,” said Bogen in a press release.
Currently, Southwest Airlines is the only airline that flies the Boeing 737 Max 8 out of Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport.
Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa on Sunday. It came less than six months after a Lion Air Boeing 737 Max 8 went down in Indonesia last October — none of the 189 people on board survived.
The FAA had said the planes are still airworthy and has not grounded jets operating here in the United States.
There are more than 370 Boeing 737 Max planes flying worldwide, 74 within the United States, the FAA said.