Following an international string of bans after two tragic crashes within six months, President Donald Trump has temporarily grounded Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 9 jets in the United States.
The latest crash occurred March 10, 2019, killing all 189 passengers and crew on board. The initial crash occurred in October 2018, killing 157 people after being in flight for just minutes.
Questions have been mounting over when the United States would invoke a ban on the 737 MAX 8 and 9 planes after over 40 other countries grounded them.
On March 12, Meetings Today ran a reader poll questioning whether fliers were definitely, slightly or not at all afraid to fly in one of these Boeing models.
The results were clear—nearly 60 percent of respondents expressed hesitation at the thought, choosing "slightly afraid" as their response.
Trump Announces Boeing Ban
Trump announced the U.S. ban during a press conference on March 13.
"We're going to be issuing an emergency order of prohibition to ground all flights of the 737 MAX 8 and the 737 MAX 9 and planes associated with that line," Trump said.
He went on to note that planes matching this description currently in the air would be grounded after arriving at their destination, pending investigations.
Though only two major U.S. airlines, American and Southwest, are currently employing Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 737 MAX 9 aircraft, the grounding declaration could interfere with scheduled flights for planned meeting activities, corporate events and weekend bleisure travel.
Event planners and attendees are encouraged to follow up with airlines for more information.
Pilots Express Their Concerns
The Boeing ban follows official grievances filed by pilots over bizarre plane performance-related issues that seemingly relate to a newly implemented autopilot flight mode.
According to CNN, "a captain reported an autopilot anomaly which led to a brief nose-down situation—where the front of the aircraft pointed down, according to the federal database.
“In another complaint, a first officer reported that the aircraft pitched nose down after the autopilot was engaged during departure,” the article continued. “The autopilot was then disconnected and the flight continued to its destination, according to the database."
During the press conference, Trump cited conversations with Elaine Chao, Secretary of Transportation; Dan Elwell, Acting Administrator of the FAA; and Dennis Muilenburg, CEO of Boeing, in the U.S. reaching its decision to ground the Boeing 737 MAX flights. The president concluded, "The safety of the American people, and all people, is our paramount concern.
[Read This Next: European Union Grounds Boeing 737 MAX Aircraft]