FAA Joins Int'l Regulators in Boeing Max Groundings

 - March 15, 2019, 12:12 PM

The U.S. FAA this week grounded all remaining Boeing Max 8s and Max 9s just hours after Canada moved to ban the models from its airspace based on new satellite data that suggests similarities between the March 10 crash of Ethiopian Flight 302 and the October 29 crash of Lion Air Flight 610. In its own statement, the FAA said it based its decision on new evidence collected at the site of Sunday’s crash outside Addis Ababa and “newly refined” satellite data. American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines stood as the last operators of the type following moves by the rest of the world’s aviation safety authorities to suspend their use into and over their territories

The move by the U.S. marked an abrupt reversal after the FAA on Tuesday said its latest review showed “no systemic performance issues” and no basis for grounding the aircraft. However, a chorus of calls for grounding the airplanes by U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday and Wednesday along with President Donald Trump’s own stated misgivings placed pressure on aviation authorities.

The FAA, however, confirmed that Boeing may apply for special permits to flight-test modifications and operate production flight-test and ferry flights during the grounding.

France’s Bureau of Investigation and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA) will download and analyze the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder from the Ethiopian Max 8. The U.S. NTSB planned to send three investigators to assist in the effort.