The Federal Aviation Administration won’t ground the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft despite mounting pressure from lawmakers and after other countries halted the planes’ use after the second Boeing crashed in less than five months.
In a statement, Acting FAA Administrator Daniel K. Elwell said the planes will remain in service in the U.S. because the agency’s own reviews of the aircraft show no “systematic performance issues.”
“The FAA continues to review extensively all available data and aggregate safety performance from operators and pilots of the Boeing 737 MAX,” the agency said in a statement Tuesday. “Thus far, our review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft. Nor have other civil aviation authorities provided data to us that would warrant action.”
The FAA released its statement two days after a Boeing 737 Max operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed soon after takeoff from Addis Ababa, killing all 157 on board. The cause of the crash is still being investigated.
Four months earlier, the same model of aircraft operated by Lion Air crashed in Indonesia, killing all 189 people on board. An investigation into that crash is focused on the plane’s software system, which is designed to push the plane down, according to Reuters. The aircraft’s airline training and repair standards are also being investigated in the Indonesian crash.
Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who recently launched a presidential campaign, and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) both called on the FAA to bar the Boeing 737 Max from flying in the U.S. in light of the two tragedies.
“The world has now witnessed the second tragic crash of one of these planes in less than six months,” Warren said Tuesday in a statement.
“While we do not know the causes of these crashes, serious questions have been raised about whether these planes were pressed into service without additional pilot training in order to save money,” she said, referring to Boeing’s claim that pilots of these planes required less training.
Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) also called for regulators to ground the aircraft as the crashes are being investigated.
Aviation regulators and airlines in other countries have chosen to ground the aircraft in response to the Ethiopian crash, including agencies in China, Indonesia, Singapore and Australia, according to The New York Times.