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As More Countries Ground Boeing 737 Max 8, U.S. Holds Off

An Aerolineas Argentinas Boeing 737 MAX 8 is seen on the tarmac of Ezeiza Airport, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina, December 4, 2017. (Stringer/REUTERS)

As countries and airlines across the world ordered Boeing 737 Max 8s grounded Tuesday in the wake of a deadly weekend crash, American officials remained reluctant to follow suit.

The crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa on Sunday killed all 157 passengers on board. It touched off worldwide alarm as the second such disaster involving the state-of-the-art Boeing jet in the past few months — in October, a Lion Air Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed in the Java Sea, killing the 189 people on board — and led European aviation authorities and countries including Indonesia, China, Australia, Singapore, and Malaysia to ground the planes.

Despite calls from a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including senators Richard Blumenthal, Dianne Feinstein, and Mitt Romney, to ground the planes until they are deemed safe, the Federal Aviation Administration declined to declare them unfit for use, issuing a “continued airworthiness notification” for the plane. On Monday, the FAA said that “this investigation has just begun and to date we have not been provided data to draw any conclusions or take any actions.”

“We understand that regulatory agencies and customers have made decisions that they believe are most appropriate for their home markets,” Boeing said in a statement. “We’ll continue to engage with all of them to ensure they have all the information they need to have the confidence they need safely continue to operate their fleets or return them to service.” 350 Max 8 models have been delivered to airlines worldwide in the two years since the model’s introduction.

President Trump, meanwhile, took to Twitter Tuesday to criticize the increasing complexity of aircraft technology.

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