WASHINGTON, DC - After the second fatal crash of a Boeing 737 Max 8 in just five months, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) wrote American Airlines CEO Doug Parker, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly, and United CEO Oscar Munoz urging all three airlines to voluntary ground their fleets Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 airplanes. After the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a warning for both the Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 airplanes, which use the same automated anti-stall system that may have been responsible for the accident. On Sunday, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 – a Boeing 737 Max 8 – crashed in similar circumstances.
“The American aviation industry has a long history of safety and excellence, due in part to the trust passengers and their families can place in the air carriers and operators,” Blumenthal wrote. “The common sense step now – until we have answers – is to ground these planes. Until we know what happened, safety and common sense demand that you ground all of your Boeing 737 Max 8s during this fact-finding process.”
Blumenthal also demanded that pending a decision to ground the full fleet of Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 airplanes, American Airlines, Southwest, and United “make it clear to customers at the point of ticket sale which model plane you plan to use in your flights, and to establish a no-cost alternative for customers wishing to opt-out.”
At least twenty-seven international carriers have already voluntarily grounded their Boeing 737 Max 8 airplanes, while aviation regulators in China, Indonesia, Mexico, Argentina, Singapore, Australia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Iceland, Germany, and France have also mandated that the Boeing 737 Max 8 cannot fly.