Boeing has called for its entire worldwide fleet of 737 Max planes to be grounded after severe concerns for the passenger jet’s safety sparked by two fatal crashes in recent months.
Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 crashed shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa on Sunday, killing all 157 people on board. The incident came after Lion Air Flight JT610 crashed minutes after departing Jakarta in late October. All 189 people aboard were killed in that incident.
The Ethiopia Airlines and Lion Air flights both used 737 Max-8 aircraft.
In a statement issued this morning, Boeing said the decision to ground all 737 Max aircraft worldwide was made “out of an abundance of caution.”
Boeing chief Dennis Muilenberg said “we are doing everything we can to understand the cause of the accidents in partnership with the investigators, deploy safety enhancements and help ensure this does not happen again.”
— The Boeing Company (@Boeing) March 13, 2019
The latest crash intensified scrutiny on the planes and their safety record. On Monday, Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority suspended all 737 Max flights in and out of Australia. That action followed China‘s decision to temporarily ground 737 Max planes operating in the nation.
Overnight, the United States’ Federal Aviation Authority signalled the grounding of all 737 Max aircraft operating in American airspace. That decision came after President Donald Trump critiqued the plane, tweeting that “airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly.”
A federal database accessed by CNN this week also revealed that pilots have expressed their concerns over the plane’s autopilot capabilities and alleged instances of the plane’s nose tilting down shortly after takeoff.
On Monday, Boeing said a software update for 737 Max aircraft, which was put into development before the Ethiopia Airlines crash, is due in April.
Investigations are continuing into both of the crashes.