Published March 13, 2019
Major U.S. airlines have responded to President Trump and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) calling for the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 models.
President Trump said the FAA will make an announcement later Wednesday regarding the decision to ground the planes, the Max 8 model of which was involved in the fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed all 157 passengers on board, as well as the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia in October.
In a statement to Fox News, American Airlines addressed customer concerns over the grounding of the planes, of which the airline has 24 in its fleet.
“Earlier today the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) informed us that based on new information, they are grounding the United States Boeing 737 MAX fleet out of an abundance of caution. American Airlines has 24 aircraft affected by this directive. We appreciate the FAA’s partnership, and will continue to work closely with them, the Department of Transportation, National Transportation Safety Board and other regulatory authorities, as well as our aircraft and engine manufacturers. Our teams will be working to rebook customers as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience,” the statement read.
Southwest, the other major airline to fly the Max 8 aircraft, also addressed the news, stating they are seeking more information from the FAA about how to proceed.
“Southwest is aware of media reports stating that the Boeing 737 MAX 8 fleet will be grounded in the United States. We are currently seeking confirmation and additional guidance from the FAA and will respond accordingly in the interest of aviation safety. Once we learn more, media updates from Southwest will be posted on SWAMedia.com,” the statement to Fox News read.
The airline also added that customers will be "notified of a cancellation or of a rebooking on a different flight."
Both airlines have said they will update when more information becomes available.
United Airlines, which flies the Max 9 model, said in a statement to Fox News that they have been in contact with investigators as well as Boeing and will fully cooperate with authorities. The airline also said it does not anticipate a significant impact to operations due to the grounding.
"We will comply with the FAA’s order and will ground our 14 737 MAX aircraft. We will remain in close touch with authorities as their investigation continues," the statement read.
"Since Sunday, we have been working diligently on contingency plans to prepare our fleet to minimize the impact to customers. Our MAX aircraft account for roughly 40 flights a day and through a combination of spare aircraft and rebooking customers, we do not anticipate a significant operational impact as a result of this order. We will continue to work with our customers to help minimize any disruption to their travel."
Boeing has also announced it has suspended its entire global fleet of 737 Max aircraft, a total of 371 planes.
On Tuesday, two of the largest flight attendants’ unions in the United States urged carriers to ground their Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft amid investigations into the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.