WASHINGTON (SBG) – President Donald Trump announced Wednesday afternoon that all Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 9 planes would be temporarily grounded in response to growing safety concerns after two deadly crashes that occurred just after takeoff.
"Pilots have been notified, airlines have been all notified. Airlines are agreeing with this. The safety of the American people and all people is our paramount concern," the president said, adding that both the Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing supported the action to temporarily suspend operations of the entire fleet of 737 MAX 8 and 9 planes.
This marks a stunning shift as the FAA released a statement the day before asserting "our review shows no systematic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft" and Boeing has continued to stand by model after the Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed all aboard raised concerns around the world. However, the FAA's emergency order grounding the planes stated information discovered the day of the announcement indicated some possible similarities with the Lion Air crash in Indonesia a few months ago - enough to warrant the change in course.
"I think [President Trump] made the right decision," Rep. Darin LaHood, R- Ill., said in a Sinclair Broadcast Group interview, asserting that keeping the skies clear of the planes affected by the order is necessary "until we find out what went wrong with the flight in Ethiopia and the flight in Indonesia."
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have said they wish to launch investigations into the causes of the crashes to assure the public, but questions have been raised about why the United States trailed behind the rest of the world in grounding the planes. The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure is among several that have announced an inquiry into the incidents with Boeing 737 MAX 8.
Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., who sits on the committee, suggested in an interview with Sinclair Broadcast Group the administration's ties with Boeing may have had something to do with the delay.
"We set the gold standard for aviation safety, so its unusual for us to be at the back end of the list and not at the head of the pack," said Rep. Titus.
The crashes have drawn renewed attention to a 2005 Obama-era regulatory policy change that have been criticized for allowing Boeing employees to help certify the safety of planes produced by the cooperation. Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation that led the charge by announcing a hearing Tuesday, has questioned the influence of Boeing’s large lobbying presence in D.C.
Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., chief deputy whip and member of House Ways and Means committee, told Sinclair Broadcast Group that it's necessary to "take a closer look at how the FAA is enforcing its regulations."
"The idea that we could have an aircraft that has this sort of a problem and not have the alarm bells going off is really problematic," said Rep. Kildee. "It can’t be that the way we find out about problems with these systems is through two really deadly crashes. Anytime there’s ongoing maintenance or issues that come up, we ought to be able to discover it long before it puts the public at risk," said Rep. Kildee.