Boeing’s newest version of its best-selling airliner ever was supposed to boost its fortunes for years to come.
Instead it has turned into the company’s biggest headache, with more than 40 countries grounding the 737 Max 8 after a second fatal crash proved one too many.
The agency said what made the difference was new, enhanced satellite tracking data and physical evidence on the ground that linked the Ethiopian jet’s movements to those of an Indonesian Lion Air flight that plunged into the Java Sea in October and killed 189 people.
“That evidence aligns the Ethiopian flight closer to Lion Air, what we know happened to Lion Air,” said Daniel Elwell, acting FAA administrator.
Officials at Lion Air have said sensors on their plane produced erroneous information on its last four flights, triggering an automatic nose-down command that the pilots were unable to overcome on its final voyage.
Since debuting in 2017, Boeing has delivered more than 350 of the Max in several versions that vary by size. Dozens of airlines around the world have embraced the plane for its fuel efficiency and utility for short and medium-haul flights.
The groundings will have a far-reaching financial impact on Boeing, at least in the short term, said John Cox, a veteran pilot and CEO of Safety Operating Systems.Brazil school shooting: Eight dead, including six children