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Plane crashes en route from Ethiopia to Kenya, killing all 157 people on board
President Trump said he was grounding all flights using both models - 'effective immediately' - in an emergency order of prohibition on Wednesday afternoon.
Any plane that is currently in the air will be allowed to land, and then the planes will be grounded until further notice, he said.
Trump made the decision following conversations with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg and the Federal Aviation Administration he said, after 'new information' and 'physical evidence' emerged on tragic incidents involving the planes.
'They are all in agreement with the action,' Trump announced. 'Planes that are in the air will be grounded, if they're the 737 Max, will be grounded upon landing at the destination.'
President Trump says he is grounding all flights on the Boeing Max 8 and Max 9 - 'effective immediately' - in an emergency order of prohibition
The United States was the only nation still flying the Boeing 737 Max Wednesday
Airlines have been notified, and they are in agreement with the decision, he claimed.
'Our hearts go out to all of those who lost loved ones, to their friends to their families in both the Ethiopian and Lion airlines crashes that involved the 737 Max aircraft,' the president said. 'It's a terrible terrible thing. Boeing is an incredible company. They are working very, very hard right now.'
Boeing will hopefully come up with an answer swiftly, he said. 'But until they do, the planes are grounded.
Trump said the FAA would be releasing additional information shortly.
Boeing said in a statement a half-hour after Trump's shocking announcement that the company asked the FAA to suspend the flights.
The company said, as its started started to tumble, '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,' it said.
Muilenburg simultaneously put out a condolence statement to families affected by both the Lion Air crash in October and the tragedy in Ethiopia.
'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,' Muilenburg said.
American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines hadn't grounded planes, despite 40 countries opting not the fly the aircraft pending an investigation.
On Wednesday morning, 33 of the models were spotted on Flightradar24, most over the U.S.
Meanwhile, Canada's transport minister, Marc Garneau, said the country is closing air space to the Boeing 737 Max 8 jet due to information it had received in the form of satellite data, showing a possible but unproven similarity to a previous Max 8 crash.
Southwest Airlines hasn't grounded planes despite 40 countries opting not the fly the aircraft pending an investigation
A statement from the airline read: 'At this time there are no facts on the cause of the accident other than news reports. We have full confidence in the aircraft and our crew members, who are the best and most experienced in the industry.'
Southwest Airlines continued the fly the aircraft, too. The Texas-based operator said the aircraft is safe to ride in.
'We remain confident in the safety and airworthiness of our fleet of more than 750 Boeing aircraft,' the low-cost carrier said.
United Airlines was still flying Max 9s, which were not involved in the Ethiopian Airlines or Lion Air crashes that took place within five months of each other, but were part of the FAA's emergency airworthiness directive after October's crash
Canada's WestJet – which has 121 Boeing 737s - kept them in the air until the country banned the Boeing Max from Canadian airspace Wednesday
United Airlines was still flying Max 9s, which were not involved in the Ethiopian Airlines or Lion Air crashes that took place within five months of each other, but were part of the FAA's emergency airworthiness directive after the October crash.
Canada's WestJet – which has 121 Boeing 737s - kept them in the air until the country banned the Boeing Max from Canadian airspace Wednesday.
The transport minister said it was a precautionary measure based on new information received this morning.
The fleet includes 13 Max 8 aircraft, the same kind involved in Sunday's crash six minutes after take-off, and the October 2018 Lion Air crash in Indonesia that killed 189 passengers over then Java Sea.
Up until Tuesday UAE-based low cost carrier flydubai was the only airline outside of North America that remained 'confident in the airworthiness of our fleet' for the Max 8s, of which they flew 11.
But their Max 8 and Max 9 planes were grounded at the order of the country's General Civil Aviation Authority which banned them from air space in the United Arab Emirates from Wednesday.
The US has so far refused to take similar action against the American aerospace giant's best-selling workhorse aircraft, despite the two recent crashes as well as a history of pilot complaints in recent months.
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and United Kingdom have grounded the Max 8
Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Oman, France, Ireland, India, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait, did so too. Turkish Airlines and Norwegian Airlines (pictured) have ditched the planes
Pilots said in prior reports that soon after engaging the autopilot on Boeing 737 Max 8 planes, the nose tilted down sharply
'Thus far, our review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft,' FAA chief Daniel Elwell said in a statement on Tuesday.
Airline pilots on at least two US flights have reported that an automated system seemed to cause their Boeing 737 Max planes to tilt down suddenly.
The pilots said that soon after engaging the autopilot on Boeing 737 Max 8 planes, the nose tilted down sharply. In both cases, they recovered quickly after disconnecting the autopilot.
The pilot reports were filed last year in a data base compiled by NASA. They are voluntary safety reports and do not publicly reveal the names of pilots, the airlines or the location of the incidents.
An Ethiopian pilot who saw the crash site minutes after the disaster said the plane appeared to have 'slid directly into the ground'.
American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein said the airline has received no reports from pilots about problems with the anti-stall technology. Southwest has said the same thing.
Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg also spoke with US President Donald Trump and reiterated that the 737 Max 8 is safe, the company said.
Its technical team, meanwhile, joined American, Israeli, Kenyan and other aviation experts in the investigation led by Ethiopian authorities.
The specific Max 8 model has been grounded by India, the UAE, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Iceland and Germany, and the airlines LOT Polish, TUI Airways, GOL Linhas Aereas, Aeromexico, Aerolíneas Argentinas, Cayman Airways, Comair Airways, Eastar Jet, Jet Airways, Mongolian Airlines, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Lion Air, Silkair and Thai Lion.
The European Union and UK Civil Aviation Authority have banned the entire Boeing 737 Max fleet. Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Oman, France, Ireland, India, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait, did so too. Turkish Airlines and Norwegian Airlines have ditched the planes for now.
Wreckage lies at the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed shortly after takeoff at Hejere near Bishoftu in Ethiopia Sunday, March 10, 2019.
An Ethiopian Airlines jet faltered and crashed Sunday shortly after takeoff from the country's capital, carving a gash in the earth and spreading global grief to 35 countries that had someone among the 157 people who were killed.
There was no immediate indication why the plane went down in clear weather while on a flight to Nairobi, the capital of neighboring Kenya. The crash was strikingly similar to that of a Lion Air jet that plunged into the sea off Indonesia minutes after takeoff last year, killing 189 people. Both accidents involved the Boeing 737 Max 8.
The crash shattered more than two years of relative calm in African skies, where travel had long been chaotic. It also was a serious blow to state-owned Ethiopian Airlines, which has expanded to become the continent's largest and best-managed carrier and turned Addis Ababa into the gateway to Africa.
"Ethiopian Airlines is one of the safest airlines in the world. At this stage we cannot rule out anything," CEO Tewolde Gebremariam told reporters. He visited the crash site, standing in the gaping crater flecked with debris.
Black body bags were spread out nearby while Red Cross and other workers looked for remains. As the sun set, the airline's chief operating officer said the plane's flight data recorder had not yet been found.
Around the world, families were gripped by grief. At the Addis Ababa airport, a woman called a mobile number in vain. "Where are you, my son?" she said, in tears. Others cried as they approached the terminal.
Henom Esayas, whose sister's Nigerian husband was killed, told The Associated Press they were startled when a stranger picked up their frantic calls to his mobile phone, told them he had found it in the debris and promptly switched it off.
Shocked leaders of the United Nations, the U.N. refugee agency and the World Food Program announced that colleagues had been on the plane. The U.N. migration agency estimated some 19 U.N.-affiliated employees were killed. Both Addis Ababa and Nairobi are major hubs for humanitarian workers, and many people were on their way to a large U.N. environmental conference set to begin Monday in Nairobi.
The Addis Ababa-Nairobi route links East Africa's two largest economic powers. Sunburned travelers and tour groups crowd the Addis Ababa airport's waiting areas, along with businessmen from China, Gulf nations and elsewhere.
A list of the dead released by Ethiopian Airlines included passengers from China, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Nepal, Israel, India and Somalia. Kenya lost 32 citizens. Canada, 18. Several countries including the United States lost four or more people.
Ethiopian officials declared Monday a day of mourning.
At the Nairobi airport, hopes quickly dimmed for loved ones. "I just pray that he is safe or he was not on it," said Agnes Muilu, who had come to pick up her brother.
The crash is likely to renew questions about the 737 Max, the newest version of Boeing's popular single-aisle airliner, which was first introduced in 1967 and has become the world's most common passenger jet.
Indonesian investigators have not determined a cause for the October crash, but days after the accident Boeing sent a notice to airlines that faulty information from a sensor could cause the plane to automatically point the nose down.
The Lion Air cockpit data recorder showed that the jet's airspeed indicator had malfunctioned on its last four flights, though the airline initially said problems had been fixed.
Safety experts cautioned against drawing too many comparisons between the two crashes until more is known about Sunday's disaster.
The Ethiopian Airlines CEO "stated there were no defects prior to the flight, so it is hard to see any parallels with the Lion Air crash yet," said Harro Ranter, founder of the Aviation Safety Network, which compiles information about accidents worldwide.
The Ethiopian plane was new, delivered to the airline in November. The Boeing 737 Max 8 was one of 30 meant for the airline, Boeing said in July. The jet's last maintenance was on Feb. 4, and it had flown just 1,200 hours.
The plane crashed six minutes after departure, plowing into the ground at Hejere near Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, some 31 miles outside Addis Ababa, at 8:44 a.m.
The jet showed unstable vertical speed after takeoff, air traffic monitor Flightradar 24 said. The senior Ethiopian pilot, who joined the airline in 2010, sent out a distress call and was given clearance to return to the airport, the airline's CEO told reporters.
In the U.S., the Federal Aviation Administration said it would join the National Transportation Safety Board in assisting Ethiopian authorities with the crash investigation. Boeing planned to send a technical team to Ethiopia.
The last deadly crash of an Ethiopian Airlines passenger flight was in 2010, when a plane went down minutes after takeoff from Beirut, killing all 90 people on board.
African air travel has improved in recent years, with the International Air Transport Association in November noting "two years free of any fatalities on any aircraft type."
Sunday's crash comes as the country's reformist young prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has vowed to open up the airline and other sectors to foreign investment in a major transformation of the state-centered economy.
Speaking at the inauguration in January of a new passenger terminal in Addis Ababa to triple capacity, the prime minister challenged the airline to build a new "Airport City" terminal in Bishoftu — where Sunday's crash occurred.