US political leaders as well as a union representing tens of thousands of flight attendants are calling on the Federal Aviation Administration to ground a new version of the Boeing 737 jetliner that has come under scrutiny after two crashes in five months that killed everyone on board each time.
On Tuesday morning, Democratic US Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a 2020 presidential candidate, called on the FAA to “immediately ground this plane in the United States until its safety can be assured.”
“Today, immediately, the FAA needs to get these planes out of the sky,” Warren said in a statement.
US Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican from Utah and former governor of Massachusetts, tweeted, “Out of an abundance of caution for the flying public, the @FAANews should ground the 737 MAX 8 until we investigate the causes of recent crashes and ensure the plane’s airworthiness.”
Republican US Senator Ted Cruz of Texas as well as Democratic senators Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, and Dianne Feinstein of California also called for the planes to be grounded.
In light of the decisions of regulatory agencies across the world to ground the Model 737 Max, I believe it would be prudent for the United States likewise to temporarily ground 737 Max aircraft until the FAA confirms the safety of these aircraft & their passengers.— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) March 12, 2019
The FAA & the airline industry must act quickly & decisively to protect American travelers, pilots, & flight attendants. All Boeing 737 Max 8s should be grounded until American travels can be assured that these planes are safe. https://t.co/6yRQFasFHR— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) March 12, 2019
President Trump weighed in via Twitter on Tuesday, saying airplanes “are becoming far too complex to fly.”
Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly. Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT. I see it all the time in many products. Always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simpler is far better. Split second decisions are....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 12, 2019
....needed, and the complexity creates danger. All of this for great cost yet very little gain. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot. I want great flying professionals that are allowed to easily and quickly take control of a plane!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 12, 2019
And the Association of Flight Attendants, a union representing 50,000 flight attendants at 20 different airlines, called for the Max 8s to be grounded.
We’re calling on the FAA to temporarily ground the 737 MAX fleet in the US out of an abundance of caution in the wake of a second fatal accident involving the 737 MAX 8, & until FAA-identified fixes to the plane can be installed, communicated, & confirmed. https://t.co/pYzvFEgej1 pic.twitter.com/dTApqqlkls— AFA-CWA (@afa_cwa) March 12, 2019
On Sunday, a 737 Max 8 crashed six minutes after taking off in clear weather from Ethiopia’s capital en route to Nairobi, killing 157 people. The cause had not been determined by Tuesday morning and aviation experts say it could take months to get answers.
In late October, a 737 Max 8 also crashed in Indonesian seas, killing 189 people. A preliminary report on that disaster indicated that pilots struggled to maintain control following an equipment malfunction.
Safety experts cautioned against drawing too many comparisons between the two crashes until more is known.
Still, the carrier involved in Sunday’s crash, Ethiopian Airlines, decided Monday to ground all its 737 Max 8 planes until further notice.
Airlines in Germany, Ireland, Austria, Indonesia, and Oman, as well as Aeromexico, Brazil’s Gol Airlines, India’s Jet Airways, South Korea’s Eastar Jet, Turkish Airlines, and others have temporarily grounded their 737 Max 8s. Malaysia, Australia, and Singapore suspended all flights of 737 Max planes into or out of their countries.
The US-based Boeing, however, has said it has no reason to pull the popular aircraft from the skies, and it does not intend to issue new recommendations about the aircraft to customers.
The FAA on Monday issued a noticed saying it considers the 737 Max fleet to remain airworthy. The federal agency said it expects Boeing will soon complete improvements to an automated antistall system suspected of contributing to the October crash, and update training requirements and related flight crew manuals.
Officials in Canada have also said they don’t plan to ground the planes.