President Trump issues emergency order grounding Boeing 737 Max jets

President Trump on Wednesday announced the U.S. will ground Boeing 737 Max aircraft, bowing to heavy pressure after two of the planes were involved in deadly crashes overseas.

“All of those planes are grounded, effective immediately,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

The president called Boeing “an incredible company” that is “working very, very hard” to address issues with the aircraft, but said “the safety of the American people and all people is our paramount concern.”

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, acting Federal Aviation Administrator (FAA) Daniel Elwell and Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg were all consulted and agreed with the decision, Trump said.

Boeing said in a statement following Trump's announcement that it “continues to have full confidence in the safety of the 737 Max.”

“We are supporting this proactive step out of an abundance of caution,” the company said. “Safety is a core value at Boeing for as long as we have been building airplanes, and it always will be.”

The FAA had brushed aside mounting calls to stop flying the planes in the U.S., saying there was no evidence yet to support such an action. Lawmakers in both parties urged airlines to ground the planes pending an investigation into the cause of the crashes.

But Trump disputed that he was under pressure to make the call, suggesting it was a precautionary measure.

"The United States has the greatest record in the world of aviation and we want to keep it that way. So I didn’t want to take any chances," he said. "We didn’t have to make this decision today. We could’ve delayed it, we maybe didn’t have to make it at all. But I felt it was important both psychologically and in a lot of other ways."

The Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed Sunday killing all 157 people on board was a Boeing 737 Max 8, the same model in a Lion Air crash in Indonesia last October that killed 189 people.

The U.S. had become increasingly isolated in its decision to keep the aircraft operational. Trump’s announcement came just hours after Canada said it was grounding 737 Max planes over safety concerns, joining dozens of other nations that has suspended flights by the jets.

The agency issued a statement Tuesday evening that said an ongoing review had found no issues with the aircraft, and that they would remain operational. Boeing had issued a statement on Tuesday as well expressing confidence in the safety of the machines.

The FAA would provide a more detailed explanation of its reversal later Wednesday, Trump said.

Boeing's stock dipped by roughly 2 percent in the immediate aftermath of Trump's announcement.
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