Press Releases

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today called on the Federal Aviation Administration to ground all Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft operating in the United States until an investigation into the cause of the recent Ethiopian Airlines crash is complete. In October, a crash involving the same Boeing 737 model occurred near Jakarta, Indonesia.

“Until the cause of the crash is known and it’s clear that similar risks aren’t present in the domestic fleet, I believe all Boeing 737 Max 8 series aircraft operating in the United States should be temporarily grounded,” Senator Feinstein wrote. “This aircraft model represents only a small fraction of the domestic fleet, and several other countries have already taken this important step, including China and Indonesia.”

The full text of the letter follows:

March 11, 2019

Daniel K. Elwell
Acting Administrator
Federal Aviation Administration
800 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20591

Dear Acting Administrator Elwell:

I write to ask that all Boeing 737 Max 8 series aircraft be grounded until their safe use has been confirmed. This weekend’s tragic airplane crash near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia bears several troubling similarities to the October 29, 2018 crash near Jakarta, Indonesia. Both tragedies involved a new Boeing 737 Max 8 series crashing only a few minutes after takeoff. The two accidents killed all people onboard, resulting in a combined loss of 346 lives, including eight U.S. citizens. This has raised legitimate questions about whether an unknown problem exists, which must be discovered and remedied as soon as possible.

The National Transportation Safety Board will assist in the investigation of the Ethiopia Airlines crash. Until the cause of the crash is known and it’s clear that similar risks aren’t present in the domestic fleet, I believe all Boeing 737 Max 8 series aircraft operating in the United States should be temporarily grounded. This aircraft model represents only a small fraction of the domestic fleet, and several other countries have already taken this important step, including China and Indonesia.

I ask that the Federal Aviation Administration evaluate whether similar precautions in the United States are advisable and practicable. 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.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter, and for your commitment to maintaining the safety of aviation in the United States.

Sincerely,

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

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