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US legislators ground all Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 9 planes over safety concerns

March 15, 2019

Photo: AFP

US legislators said on Thursday that Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 9 planes will remain grounded for “weeks” at a minimum until a software upgrade is tested and installed in all planes.

The model of aircraft was involved in a deadly crash in Ethiopia.

After a briefing from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Congressman Rick Larsen said the planes, which have been involved in two fatal crashes in the last five months, would be banned from flying “at least through April” while new software is installed and investigations continue.

Investigators will begin analysing flight recorders from the Ethiopian Airlines plane wreckage on Friday, in an attempt to establish what caused the crash that has grounded Boeing’s 737 Max fleet worldwide.

Related: Singapore bans use of Boeing 737 MAX in its airspace

President Donald Trump’s executive had also ordered on Wednesday afternoon the grounding of all Boeing 737 Max 8s, citing it as a necessary step.

More than 40 nations had announced the grounding of the jet — and in some cases a ban on flyovers of the plane — in recent days despite reassurances from the FAA.

The crash on Sunday, in which 157 people were killed minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa, was the second such calamity involving Boeing’s 737 Max in less than six months. A Lion Air jet crashed in Indonesia in October, also shortly after takeoff, killing all 189 people on board.

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