Boeing Flights Grounded Across the Globe – Update

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In this photo dated November 12, 2018, the actual Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 - Max 8 plane, that crashed Sunday March 10, 2019, shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, shown as it lands at Seattle Boeing Field King County International airport, USA. U.S. aviation experts on Tuesday March 12, 2019, joined the investigation into the crash of this Ethiopian Airlines jetliner that killed 157 people, as questions grow about the new Boeing plane involved in the crash. (AP Photo/Preston Fiedler)

UPDATE: Boeing 737 Max planes are now grounded worlwide after US became the last country to ground the aircraft

New York Times With more countries grounding Boeing jets and with lawmakers, aviation workers and consumers calling on the United States to do the same, the head of the aerospace giant on Tuesday made a personal appeal to President Trump.

Boeing’s chief executive, Dennis A. Muilenburg, called from Chicago and expressed to Mr. Trump his confidence in the safety of the 737 Max 8 jets, according to two people briefed on the conversation. Two of the planes flown by overseas carriers have crashed in recent months in similar accidents.

The brief call had been in the works since Monday, but it came shortly after Mr. Trump raised concerns that the increasing use of technology in airplanes was compromising passenger safety. “Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly,” he wrote on Twitter. “Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT.”

Soon after the conversation ended, Mr. Muilenburg received more bad news. The European Union suspended “all flight operations” of the Boeing 737 Max 8 model, a striking move by one of the industry’s important regulators. At the end of the day, the Federal Aviation Administration said that it was continuing with its review and that the planes could keep flying.

Yet the decision in Europe means roughly two-thirds of the Boeing Max 8 aircraft in the world have been pulled from use in the two days since the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight that killed 157 people. The swift actions by authorities around the world were driven in part by concerns about a connection to a similar disaster involving a Max 8 in Indonesia last October, when a Lion Air flight plunged into the Java Sea shortly after takeoff, killing all 189 people aboard.

By Tuesday afternoon, the United States was nearly alone among major countries still allowing the jets to fly.

Elaine Chao, the transportation secretary, said regulators “will not hesitate to take immediate and appropriate action” if a safety issue arises.

Boeing reiterated in a statement late Tuesday that it had “full confidence” in the 737 Max 8. It noted that the F.A.A. had taken no action and “based on the information currently available, we do not have any basis to issue new guidance to operators.”

Two United States airlines fly the 737 Max 8 aircraft and both said they planned to keep flying. Southwest Airlines has 34 of the planes and American Airlines has 24. The airlines have said they have analyzed data from their thousands of flights with the jets and found no reason to ground them.

“We don’t have any changes planned,” Southwest said in a statement. “We have full confidence in the aircraft,” American said.

The growing pressure left Boeing in an increasingly unfamiliar position. The company, a major military contractor, has close ties with the American government, and the F.A.A. in particular.

Boeing is a major lobbying force in the nation’s capital. Its top government relations official is a veteran of the Clinton White House, and last year, the company employed more than a dozen lobbying firms to advocate for its interests and spent $15 million in total on lobbying, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The company, through its political action committee, funnels millions of dollars into the campaign accounts of lawmakers from both political parties. A list of a year’s worth of political spending on Boeing’s website stretches on for 14 pages, listing campaign contributions to lawmakers ranging from a city councilman in South Carolina to Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, who is now the House speaker.

“Boeing is one of the 800-pound gorillas around here,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, who has called for the Max 8 to be grounded. As an example of Boeing’s reach in the highest levels of government, Mr. Blumenthal noted that the acting defense secretary, Patrick M. Shanahan, is a former Boeing executive.

[While some passengers balked, it was business as usual in the United States and Canada.]

For decades, the F.A.A. has used a network of outside experts, known as F.A.A. designees, to certify that aircraft meet safety standards. In 2005, the regulator shifted its approach for how it delegated authority outside the agency, creating a new program through which aircraft manufacturers like Boeing could choose their own employees to be the designees and help certify their planes.

The program is intended to help the F.A.A. stretch its limited resources, while also benefiting plane makers who are eager to avoid delays in the certification process.

The regulator maintains offices inside Boeing’s factories, including those in Renton, Wash., and in Charleston, S.C. “I’ve raised this concern in the past, about people who go to work at the Boeing plant who work for the F.A.A.,” said Representative Peter A. DeFazio, Democrat of Oregon and the chairman of the House transportation committee. “How much scrutiny are they applying, and could they be influenced?”

The F.A.A.’s top safety official, Ali Bahrami, has worked closely with Boeing during his career, directing the agency’s certification of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the 747-8 passenger and freighter models

“It’s a very cozy relationship,” said Jim Hall, the former head of the National Transportation Safety Board. “The manufacturer essentially becomes both the manufacturer and the regulator, because of the lack of the ability of government to do the job.”

At a congressional hearing in 2015, a Boeing executive described the arrangement as effectively having an “arm of the F.A.A. within the Boeing Company,” and said 1,000 employees were part of the program.

The regulatory policy of allowing manufacturers to essentially sign off on the safety of their own products has drawn criticism in the past. In 2011, a report from the Transportation Department’s Office of Inspector General found that the “F.A.A. has significantly reduced its role in approving individuals who perform work on F.A.A.’s behalf by further delegating this approval to private companies.”

Boeing’s relationship with Mr. Trump has not always been smooth, however. Shortly after becoming president-elect, Mr. Trump assailed Boeing for the estimated cost of its program to build new Air Force One planes, which provide mobile command centers for the president.

The “costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter a month after winning the election, but before taking office. A couple of weeks later, Mr. Muilenburg visited Mr. Trump at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Fla., to try to smooth things over.

“It was a terrific conversation,” Mr. Muilenburg told reporters after the meeting, explaining that he had given Mr. Trump “my personal commitment” that Boeing would build new Air Force One planes for less than the $4 billion estimate. Weeks after the conversation, Boeing donated $1 million to Mr. Trump’s inaugural committee. The company had donated the same amount to help finance President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2013.

As concerns about the airworthiness of the Boeing 737 Max 8 spread around the globe on Tuesday, pressure was building on the F.A.A. to take action. Boeing shares fell 6 percent on Tuesday, after falling 5 percent on Monday. Early on Wednesday in New Zealand, the country’s aviation regulator suspended 737 Max flights there.

Two unions representing flight attendants called for the jets to be grounded. “The F.A.A. must restore public confidence by grounding the 737 Max until the required changes have been implemented and the public can be fully assured,” said Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants.

Lori Bassani, the president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents flight attendants at American Airlines, called on the airline to “strongly consider grounding these planes until a thorough investigation can be performed.”

In Washington, politicians on both sides of the aisle called for action. Senator Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican who is the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Aviation and Space, said he wanted “to temporarily ground 737 Max aircraft until the F.A.A. confirms the safety of these aircraft.” He also said he planned to hold a hearing to investigate the crashes.

Senators Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, also called on the F.A.A. to ground the aircraft while the cause of the Ethiopian crash is investigated.

“Serious questions have been raised about whether these planes were pressed into service without additional pilot training in order to save money,” Ms. Warren said. Mr. Romney, in a Twitter post, urged a grounding “out of an abundance of caution for the flying public.”

In his phone call with the president, the Boeing chief, Mr. Muilenburg, outlined the company’s position since the crash. He also updated Mr. Trump on the status of the 737 Max models.

It was unclear whether anything came of the call. The White House did not respond to questions about the conversation.

In its statement, the F.A.A. said that it had “no basis to order grounding the aircraft.”

Reporting was contributed by Jack Nicas, Zach Wichter, Keith Bradsher, Ian Austen, Amie Tsang, Christine Negroni, Russell Goldman, Mike Ives, Allison McCann, Jin Wu, Choe Sang-Hun, Melissa Eddy, Aurelien Breeden, Sophia Kishkovsky, Adeel Hassan and Daniel Victor. Ailin Tang contributed research. A version of this article appears in print on March 13, 2019 of the New York edition with the headline: Pressure on U.S. To Cease Flights Of Troubled Jet. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

227 COMMENTS

  1. Abebech

    Jawar is not a terrorist in fact he is freedom fighter for Oromo people. I know you why you people hates him because he holds the highest IQ when it comes to analyzing political strategies. You people have been murduring intelligent people in the history of the country.
    Amara’s are number one terrorist people in Ethiopia, however the time is over and you are paying for the horrific crimes you have done to nations and nationalities!!!!
    Amara of course are cursed people, evil people!!!

  2. No matter how much you spin and try to cover up, the undeniable history of TPLF mafia 27 horrendous bloody years and robberies, the highest majority of Ethiopians know it is TPLF mafia criminals that denied their human rights, who left their country landlocked, who robbed them blind, who displaced them, who locked up, beat up, cut up, tortured, raped, and slaughtered their children, siblings, parents, friends and neighbors for 27 barbarous bloody years!! No matter how much you try 24/7 to cover up the last 27 years TPLF bone-chilling crimes, IT IS TOO LATE!! YOUR DAILY RANT WON’T ERASE THE TRUTHS!! YOUR CRIME HISTORY IS RECORDED BY ETHIOPIAN HISTORIANS AND BY HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH AND AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL!!! WE ALL KNOW THAT YOU ARE JUST A BRAINWASHED TPLF PUPPETS THAT CANNOT DIFFERINCATE BETWEEN REALITY, UNDENIABLE TRUTHS AND PROPAGANDA!! YOU ARE MAKING A FOOL OF YOURSELVES!!

  3. Old lady suck the duck d!ck

    Pick a lane narrow minded idiot. You can’t say arusi Oromos that, shewa Oromos this, Bale Oromos that, Muslim Oromos this, penete Oromos this. And by the same token you are aginist religious and ethnic politics. You are among the people who carrying forward that kind of politics. Just because you are not a member of ethnic or religious political party, that doesn’t mean you are advancing ethnic politics. You are who introduced us with which member of Oromo groups are evil and which are evil. Which followers of which religion groups are evil and good among Oromos. You can only fool your parrots. Impartial people, we smell the stink from miles away. You said their are evil religions and ethnic groups, you are the symbol of ethnic and religious politics.

    • Aba Mela,

      Copy and paste my comments, that now I like. Nice job. Please don’t try to make me say this tribe good that tribe bad. Nobody, even the parrot is not gonna believe you. May be you may make Ababa jump up and down thinking I sunk to his level but deep down he even knows I don’t do tribal divide politics. Keep copying and paste my comments.

  4. Buzzzzz… there is that useless disgusting ugly fly again! Ignored!!
    Blegawea street deruye shermuta bully! Rant all day! Not even read one single word of your nonsense!! Utterly Nauseating mean-spirited creature I have come across on this website and in my entire life, you are even worse than your hero Aba Diablos!! Just soulless holier than thou repulsive trabalist, religious fanatic, racist BIGOT!!
    I honestly feel sorry for your coworkers! UGH!!

  5. ወያኔን ለመጣል በተደረገው ግብግብ የወያኔው ሆድ-አደር የራያው ልጅ ጌታቸው ረዳ የኦሮሞን እና የአማራን ጥምረት እንዲህ ብሎት ነበር በአንድ ወቅት:- ‘ኦሮሞ እና አማራ እሳት እና ጭድ ናቸው::’
    ግሩም ምልከታ ነው! እውነት ነው ኦሮሞ እሳት ነው ገዳዮቹን ዶግ አመድ የሚያደርግ! እውነት ነው ኦሮሞ እሳት ነው ለዘመናት የአቢሲኒያ ወራሪዎች ያላሰለሰ ጥረት አድርገዋል የኦሮሞን ተፈጥሯዊ እሳትነት ለማጥፋት ሆኖም ግን ከፈጣሪ እንዲሁ በተቸረ ስጦታ የኦሮሞ እሳትነት መለኮታዊው ነው ደግሞም ይሰነብታል እንጂ ጠላቶቹን መብላቱ አይቀሬ ነው::
    ዳዊት በመዝሙሩ እንዲህ አለ ” ጌታ ጌታዬን ጠላቶችህን የእግርህ መረገጫ እስካደርግልህ በቀኜ ተቀመጥ አለው::” አሁንም የኦሮሞ ሰላማዊ ትግል እንቅስቃሴ ጠላቶቹን የእግሮቹ መቀመጫ እስኪያደርጋቸው ድረስ ተደላድሎ በቀኙ እስኪቀመጥ ድረስ እዚም እዛም የውድቀት ድምፃች መሰማታቸው ያለ ነው:: ሁሉም ነገር ሲወድቅ ድምፅ ያሰማል::
    እውነት ነው ኦሮሞ እሳት ነው! ምጡቅ የአዕምሮ ባለቤት የሆኑትን የኦሮሞ ልጆችን በመግደል የኦሮሞን እሳትነት ሊያጠፉት የአቢሲኒያ ልጆች ከዘመን በፊት ጀምሮ ጭዳ ሊያረጉት ያላሰለሰ ጥረት አድርገዋል:: አይሳካላቸውም እንደውም እንደ እንጀራ የሚበሉበት ዘመን መጥቶአል:: እነሆ የኦሮሞ ታላቅነት ጠላቶቹን የእግር መረገጫ አድርጎ በሃይል በቀኝ በኩል የሚቀመጥበት ዘመን ላይ ነን!!! ayyaana haaraa gaarii! Ille Ille Hawwalle Illishonkkee!!!

    ተወቅቶ ያለቀ ነው ጭድ የሚባለው! እውነት ነው ሆድ-አደሩ የራያው ልጅ አማራን በጭድ መመሰሉ:: ለዚህም ማስረጃነት አዴፓን ትቶ የፓለቲካውን አካሄድ ከህዉሓት ጋር ያጣመረው:: ህዉሓትም ቆቅ ናት ጌታቸውን እና መሰሎቹን ጠንቅቃ ስለምታውቅ እረዘም ባለ ማሰርያ አስራው የህዉሓትን ፓለቲካ እንዲያራምድ ፍቃድ የሰጠችው ምክንያቱም የራሱን ፓለቲካ መጠረሻ ላይ እንደሚያስበላ ስለምታውቅ ነው::
    እውነት ነው ተወቅቶ የወጣለት ነው ጭድ የሚባለው የራያው ልጅ ሆድ-አደሩ ጌታቸው ረዳ አማራን በጭድ መመሰሉ:: He Getachew Redda metaphorically correct. Sometimes people make an impeccable statement when they face extreme danger; for this reason religious people call it such intuition as a prophecy.
    We have heard him(Getachew Redda) claiming he is an Oromo; welcome to your senses brother. Yes indeed he is Oromo!
    To be continued….

    • I think You are getting paid per post. Now we have to know who is your client. Who can be beneficial from divisive comments? We wii figure it out. Also, For now we use cyberstitue as your job title.

    • የኦሮሞ ጠላት – ጁሃር ሙሃመድ፤
      የአባ መላቢስ – ጠላት ሆዱ
      ሆዱ በጀርባው ቢሆን ኖሩ – ገደል ገፍትሮ ይጥለው ነበር።
      ጌታቸው ረዳ – ጆሮው ሥር በአፈሙዝ ተገዶ ትግሬ ነኝ እያለ የሲቃ ጩኸት ያሰማል። አፈሙዙ ዘወር ካለለት ግን የወሎ አማራ ነኝ ብሎ እንዴ ሌሎቹ ወሎየዎች ወያኔን አፍጫሽን ላሽ የማለቱ ጉዳይ እሙን ነው። ቶርች እየተደረገ የሚቀባጥር ሰው ይታዘንለታል እንጅ አይደመጥም።

  6. ”ነገሩ ሄድ ሲያውቅ ዶሮ ማታ ሆነና
    እኛው ተንኩዋሽ እኛው አጉራሽ
    እኛው ከሳሽ እኛው መላሽ
    እኛው አፍራሽ እኛው አዳሽ ጨዋታ ሆኗል ነገሩ:: ከዚህ አዙሪት አካሄድ መውጣት ይኖርብናል::”

    ምክትል ጠ/ሚ ደመቀ መኮንን

    የአማራ ፓለቲከኞች ቦቅቧቃውን ደሜን የጀግና መልክ ለመፍጠር የማይፈነቅሉት ድንጋይ የለም ሆኖም ግን ሰውየው ቅዘናም ነው:: ደብረፅዬን በጥፊ ሁሉ አልሶታል:: የአማራ ፓለቲከኞች በአመራር ቦታ ላይ ባጋጣሚ የተቀመጡት የአማራ ሰዎችን ጀግና ደፋር እንዲሆኑ ይፈልጋሉ:: እውነታው ግን ገድጋዳውም ገዱም እምባቸውም ፈሪዎች ናቸው::

    • ኧረ! ደግሞ ደብረ-ቆለጥ እፉዬ ገላ ከሸሌ እግር ውስጥ ይወንወን እንጅ እኛ የሰማነው ሌላ በረከት ስምዖን ነፍሷን አተረፋት ሲባል ነው።

  7. Aba Mela,
    ??, One thing you are good at is, you know how to touch Ababa’s raw nerve. I’m flattered man! Ababa jumps to the climax everytime when you pinpoint his ego. Man, u r so awesome!

    • ቅዝቃዜ ሰቅዞ እንደያዛት ህዳር ንብ ከቀፎሽ እንዳት ወጫ ተደርግሽ መቀሌ ተከርቸም ስለገባሽ ምድረ የትግሬ ወያኔ ደረት ትመቻለሽ። ዓለም ተራናት ቻሉት። ሓዳስ ሹሼ ገባሽ።

  8. Woyanes went on looting, torturing and killing spree throughout Ethiopia…, evicted and displaced millions of Ethiopians…, in Gamebela alone 500 Gambelans were slaughtered and 70,000 of them were beaten and kicked out of their land, and thrown out like trash.. after billions of dollars robberies, mountain high unpresedented crimes committed on Ethiopians throughout Ethiopia for 27 horrifying years.., Woyanes excuse for their crimes is.. “Amharas are bad”!! ??
    What Idiotic, moronic laughable desperate excuse, only brainwashed mindless hatefilled bloodthirsty hoodlum bigots believe!!!! Hahahahahakikikikikikiiiii

    • Hope,

      TPLF and its supporters are now beginning to pay heavy prices for attacking and bad mouthing about Amhara for the last 3 decades. It is going to hurt TPLF and its puppet woyanes more the Amharas. For Amharas it is only a matter of time and convenience to engage in & facing off its enemies, for the TPLF it is going to be eternally debilitating. Not a tiny dream of tplf nor OLF will come to fruition, we are on the eve of such lasting truth – believe it or not.

      • Abebaw,
        Let’s hope and pray that we live long enough to see the humble hardworking Ethiopians get the long over do justice!!!
        As sad as it is, TPLF mafia excuse for their inexcusable atrocities is simply laughable — we robbed, incarserated, oppressed, beat up, tortured, we cut up and burned Ethiopians alive, steralized, displaced, and massacred staggering number of Ethiopians…, because Amharas are bad!!! Kikikikikikiiikkikiiii! Priceless!

  9. Abebaw,
    እየወደቀ ያለ ሰው it’s okay ነው የሚለው, however, unlike you i wish you a good luck.

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