The Boeing 737 MAX was the centre of two serious incidents over the past five months. After the second incident, while the FAA and Boeing stood behind the plane, the rest of the world, starting with China, started to ground the aircraft, voluntarily or involuntarily. In this process, all the bystanders, including India fell in line within the first 48-72 hours. Except for North America, which started to be isolated in their operation of the Boeing 737 till a while ago.
Now, the FAA has come around to do a U-turn on their stance on the issue, perhaps after receiving the same ‘new data’ which Canada reviewed, and subsequently ordered the grounding of all the 737 MAX aircraft in Canada. President Donald Trump addressed a press conference, issuing an emergency order of prohibition, concerning all the flights of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 737 MAX 9. In the process, they close ranks with the rest of the world and ground the final few 737 MAX aircraft operating anywhere in the world.
The FAA issued a statement regarding the grounding, indicating that their decision was made based on new information:
The FAA is ordering the temporary grounding of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft operated by U.S. airlines or in U.S. territory. The agency made this decision as a result of the data gathering process and new evidence collected at the site and analyzed today. This evidence, together with newly refined satellite data available to FAA this morning, led to this decision. The grounding will remain in effect pending further investigation, including examination of information from the aircraft’s flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders. An FAA team is in Ethiopia assisting the NTSB as parties to the investigation of the Flight 302 accident. The agency will continue to investigate.
— The FAA (@FAANews) March 13, 2019
Boeing did a quick turn on their stance as well, recommending a global grounding of the 737 MAX aircraft around the globe. Here is the official statement from The Boeing Company:
Boeing continues to have full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX. However, after consultation with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and aviation authorities and its customers around the world, 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.
“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, Chairman of The 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.”
Boeing makes this recommendation and supports the decision by the FAA.
No timeline has been announced with respect to the lifting of this temporary grounding of the aircraft.