President Donald Trump said Wednesday he is issuing an emergency order that will ground the Boeing 737 Max fleet in the U.S. after the plane model was involved in two devastating crashes.
Trump made the announcement after dozens of nations ordered their 737 Max fleets grounded while an investigation into the latest crash continues.
The order will be in place “until further notice”, the president said while voicing confidence that Boeing would get to the bottom of the issue.
“The safety of the American people, of all people, is our paramount concern,” he said.
Trump’s order will apply to both the 737 Max 8 and 9 variants.
Any planes currently in the air will fly to their destination and be grounded immediately, Trump said.
Boeing said it supports the decision “out of an abundance of caution” but said it “continues to have full confidence” in the 737 Max.
“Safety is a core value at Boeing for as long as we have been building airplanes; and it always will be. There is no greater priority for our company and our industry,” CEO Dennis Muilenburg said in a statement.
“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.”
Since October, several airline pilots have issued safety complaints about the 737 Max to a federal database. All concerned the ascent portion of the flight that takes place shortly after takeoff.
One pilot reported the plane quickly going nose down after takeoff, forcing the pilot to quickly turn off autopilot in order to continue the ascent and thwart a possible nosedive into the ground.
The Dallas Morning News first reported the complaints.
Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 crashed Sunday outside of Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, killing all 157 people on board.
The plane model was also involved in an October crash outside of Jakarta, Indonesia. All 189 people on board Lion Air flight JT610 were killed.
Both crashes took place shortly after takeoff.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a statement that the decision to ground the aircraft was based on information collected from the Ethiopian Airlines crash site Wednesday as well as “newly refined” satellite information made available today.
An FAA team is on the ground in Ethiopia assisting with the investigation alongside the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.