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US joins other countries to ground Boeing 737 Max planes

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A Boeing 737 Max 8 flown by Southwest Airlines taxis to the gate at Baltimore Washington International Airport near Baltimore, Maryland, on March 13, 2019. (AFP photos)

The United States has joined a growing list of countries grounding Boeing 737 Max planes.

Following an order by the US Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday, the 74 planes the US owns were also grounded.

Two fatal crashes of the planes, 350 of which exist in global fleets, have cost 346 lives in less than five months.

The airlines operating the aircraft in the States include United Airlines, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines.

Southwest Airlines, for its part, said it was complying with the new requirement

“As a result, we have removed our 34 MAX 8 aircraft from scheduled service. Southwest operates a fleet of more than 750 Boeing 737s, and the 34 MAX 8 aircraft account for less than five percent of our daily flights,” it noted. we remain confident in the MAX 8 after completing more than 88,000 flight hours accrued over 41,000 flights, we support the actions of the FAA and other regulatory agencies and governments across the globe that have asked for further review of the data – including information from the flight data recorder – related to the recent accident involving the MAX 8.”

The FFA had previously reaffirmed the safety of the aircraft, despite being grounded by dozens of countries, including Canada and the EU.

The FFA claimed the decision was based upon "new evidence" from the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

"This evidence, together with newly refined satellite data available to FAA today, led to this decision," it said. "The grounding will remain in effect pending further investigation, including examination of information from the aircraft's flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders."

US President Donald Trump took the chance to speak about safety.

“The safety of the American people, of all people, is our paramount concern,” Trump said ahead of the ban, adding it would be "until further notice."

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg also backed the decision yet out of “an abundance of caution.”

“We are supporting this proactive step out of an abundance of caution. We are doing everything we can to understand the cause of the accidents in partnership with the investigators, deploy safety enhancements and help ensure this does not happen again.”

Malfunction with an automated system Boeing has installed is among the possible cause of a crash.

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