FAA grounds 737 MAX jets, citing new evidence

Image: Southwest 737 MAX
An artist’s conception shows a Southwest Airlines 737 MAX taking to the air. (Credit: Boeing)

The Federal Aviation Administration today ordered the temporary grounding of Boeing’s next-generation 737 MAX jets, due to “new evidence” collected at the site of Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines crash as well as data transmitted via satellite.

In its emergency order, the FAA said the evidence pointed to what appeared to be some similarities between the circumstances of the 737 MAX 8 crash in Ethiopia and the loss of a Lion Air 737 MAX 8 in Indonesia last October. Sunday’s crash killed all 157 people aboard Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, while the October crash killed all 189 people aboard Lion Air Flight 610.

The similarities “warrant further investigation of the possibility of a shared cause for the two incidents that needs to be better understood and addressed,” the FAA said.

Airlines that fly 737 MAX jets in defiance of the order could have their certificates revoked, the FAA said.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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