Boeing’s 737 Max 8 and 9 plane models will remain grounded for a minimum of “weeks,” as the manufacturing giant scrambles to test and install a software upgrade in all of the aircraft affected.
Democratic representative Rick Larsen said after a briefing with the Federal Aviation Administrator the software upgrade would take a few weeks to complete, and installing on all aircraft would take “at least through April.”
Last night US President Donald Trump pushed through an “emergency order” to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) “to ground all 737 Max 8 and the 737 Max 9, and planes associated with that line,” after an Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed and killed 157 people.
An identical model operated by Indonesia’s Lion Air also crashed in October, shortly after it took off from Jakarta, killing all 189 passengers and crew.
There has been no information yet to link the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines incidents, but Boeing’s market value has fallen billions of dollars this week, as concerns grow that both crashes were down to one – as-yet unidentified – operational defect.
The fact that the ban will go on for weeks could be disastrous for airlines around the globe, which already face paying compensation to passengers for the significant disruption caused by the scare.
The US followed Canada, Europe, China and Australia in banning the jet from entering or leaving its airspace, after coming under pressure for digging its heels in on still letting the jets fly.