U.S. orders grounding of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft

FILE PHOTO: Boeing employees are pictured in front of a 737 MAX 8 produced for Southwest Airlines ...
FILE PHOTO: Boeing employees are pictured in front of a 737 MAX 8 produced for Southwest Airlines as Boeing celebrates the 10,000th 737 to come off the production line in Renton, Washington, U.S., March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Redmond/File Photo

The United States on Wednesday joined a wave of other countries and ordered the temporary grounding of Boeing 737 MAX aircrafts after an Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed and killed everyone on board.

“The grounding will remain in effect pending further investigation, including examination of information from the aircraft’s flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders,” the FAA said in a statement announcing the action.

The United States also said it expects it will take months before a software fix for Boeing 737 Max planes is complete.

On Wednesday, the acting administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration said he does not know how long the country’s grounding of the aircraft will last.

Dan Elwell told a conference call with reporters that the “black boxes” from Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines plane crash are headed to France later on Wednesday.

On its part, American Airlines Group Inc said its teams were working to re-book customers due to fly on Boeing Co’s 737 MAX as quickly as possible after the United States banned the aircraft.

Europe and other nations had already stopped the planes flying due to safety concerns, following an Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday, five months after a Lion Air crash involving the same jet.

American, the largest airline in the world, operates 24 737 MAX aircraft.

Southwest Airlines Co , which has the world’s largest 737 MAX fleet with 34 jets, said it was waiving any fare-difference charges for customers who were seeking to switch to another aircraft following bans across much of the world.

The low-cost airline already does not charge a fee for changing tickets. The company said it is also waiving charges for fare differences following customer concerns about traveling on the jets.

American said it was notified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of its decision to ground the jets earlier on Wednesday.

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