Boeing has announced that it is grounding the entire fleet of its 737 Max 8 fleet after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said that it had uncovered new evidence at the crash site where an investigation is underway.
The announcement comes as almost all countries, except the US, had ordered a temporary ban on the 737 jets being used commercially. Now all the 371 aircraft in use will be grounded.
The questions about the aircraft arose after a fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash, which killed all 157 people on board. It was also the second incident involving a jet of the same model in the space of five months. Last year, a Lion Air flight crashed after the pilots struggled with an anti-stalling feature that caused the flight’s nose to dip.
The FAA said that it was banning these jets from commercial use “as a result of the data gathering process and the new evidence collected at the site.”
The agency did not say what the evidence entailed, but did say that it had made a decision to proceed with grounding based on the evdience and on newly-refined satellite data.
“The grounding will remain in effect pending further investigation, including examination of information from the aircraft’s flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders,” the FAA said.
Boeing, which manufactured the 737, said that although it is confident about the safety of the aircraft it is recommending the grounding to the FAA “out of an abundance of caution and in order to reassure the flying public of the aircraft’s safety.”
“We are supporting this proactive step out of an abundance of caution,” said Dennis Muilenburg, president, CEO, Chairman of The Boeing Company.
“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.”
Boeing’ s latest line of jets come equipped with a new feature that prevents the aircraft from pointing too high at an angle where the plane could lose its lift. However, some pilots have revealed that engaging the anti-stalling feature has caused the nose to dip.
While the plane maker has said that it is working to address the issue, it has not remained unscathed. The company’s market value slipped by $26 billion since the Ethiopian Airlines crashed.