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Consumer Reports calls on airlines to temporarily halt Boeing 737 MAX 8 flights after deadly crash

Posted at 5:24 PM, Mar 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-12 17:24:45-04

WASHINGTON – After two fatal Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplane crashes in less than six months, Consumer Reports is calling on airlines to temporarily halt MAX 8 flights until a thorough safety investigation has been completed.

BISHOFTU, ETHIOPIA – MARCH 11: A pile of debris gathered by workers sits in the debris field during the continuing recovery efforts at the crash site of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 on March 11, 2019 in Bishoftu, Ethiopia. Flight 302 was just six minutes into its flight to Nairobi, Kenya when it crashed, killing all 157 passengers and crew on board on March 10. As a result of the crash, Ethiopia joined China and other countries in grounding their fleets of Boing 737 Max 8 jets. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

If the airlines will not ground the planes, Consumer Reports says the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) should.

William J. McGee, aviation adviser for Consumer Reports, issued the following statement Tuesday:

“U.S. carriers–including American and Southwest–need to do what governments and airlines around the globe have done and temporarily ground these airplanes. These two domestic carriers operate 58 Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes on hundreds of flights daily.  Telling the public that the airplane is airworthy, as the FAA has done, without offering further explanation, does far too little to relieve the uncertainty and fear created by these two tragedies. While the investigators continue their work, the government and airlines should put safety first. American and Southwest should have already temporarily halted flights of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 until they can fully determine that  their aircraft, training, and operations are safe, and explain this to the public. And since they haven’t, the FAA should. All necessary resources should be on the ground investigating what happened in Ethiopia and whether and how this crash is tied to the Lion Air tragedy in November.”

This comes after all 157 people on board an Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed soon after taking off from Addis Ababa were killed, the airline said Sunday. The plane, a Boeing 737 MAX 8, was en route to Nairobi, Kenya.

CNN reported that officials said they have yet to determine what caused the “brand-new plane,” which had flown for only 1,400 hours, to crash.

A Boeing 737 MAX 8 flown by Lion Air went down off the coast of Indonesia in late October, killing 189 people.

Boeing also issued a statement Tuesday:

“Safety is Boeing’s number one priority and we have full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX. We understand that regulatory agencies and customers have made decisions that they believe are most appropriate for their home markets. We’ll continue to engage with them to ensure they have the information needed to have confidence in operating their fleets. The United States Federal Aviation Administration is not mandating any further action at this time, and based on the information currently available, we do not have any basis to issue new guidance to operators.”

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