Several US senators are urging the FAA to follow the lead of countries including China, Germany and France by temporarily grounding all Boeing 737 MAX 8s, following the deadly crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 on March 10.
In a letter addressed to acting FAA administrator Dan Elwell, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) requested that all Boeing 737 MAX 8 series aircraft be grounded, writing that similarities between the crashes of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 and Lion Air Flight 610 have “raised legitimate questions about whether an unknown problem exists, which must be discovered and remedied as soon as possible.”
“Continuing to fly an airplane that has been involved in two fatal crashes within just six months presents an unnecessary, potentially life-threatening risk to the traveling public,” Feinstein said.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) also urged FAA to ground the aircraft, saying in a statement that “serious questions have been raised about whether these planes were pressed into service without additional pilot training in order to save money.”
The senator also called on Congress to investigate whether the Trump administration may have shirked its safety duties to ensure continued strong sales for Boeing.
“The Boeing 737 MAX 8 is a major driver of Boeing profits. In the coming weeks and months, Congress should hold hearings on whether an Administration that famously refused to stand up to Saudi Arabia to protect Boeing arms sales has once again put lives at risk for the same reason …Today, immediately, the FAA needs to get those planes out of the sky,” Warren said.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) wrote on Twitter that, “Out of an abundance of caution to the flying public [FAA] should ground the 737 MAX 8 until we investigate the causes of recent crashes and ensure the plane’s airworthiness.”
And Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) also said on Twitter: “Memo to FAA: Grounding all Boeing Max 8s during fact-finding is your job. It’s mandatory safety & common sense. Failing to protect fliers will create a crisis of confidence.”
President Donald Trump also weighed in via Twitter, seemingly blaming the situation on overly complicated aircraft designs.
“Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly. Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT. I see it all the time in many products. Always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simpler is far better,” wrote Trump.
“Split-second decisions are needed, and the complexity creates danger. All of this for great cost yet very little gain. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot. I want great flying professionals that are allowed to easily and quickly take control of a plane!”