Effective immediately, all U.S. operated Boeing 737-MAX aircraft will be grounded by order of the President. The emergency order follows in line with many other worldwide restrictions and comes shortly after Canada also issued a suspension of all 737-MAX aircraft from operating in its controlled airspace.
In the announcement, President Trump added that "Pilots have been notified, airlines have been all notified. Airlines are agreeing with this. The safety of the American people and all people is our paramount concern.” This move by the President and the FAA is the last domino to drop as nearly every other operating country decided that the MAX is not airworthy at the moment.
Boeing has agreed with the government's stance on the issue, and company president Dennis Muilenburg included "We are supporting this proactive step out of an abundance of caution. Safety is a core value at Boeing for as long as we have been building airplanes; and it always will be."
Boeing 737 MAX Operations in America
Three US-based carriers operate variations of the 737-MAX model aircraft, Southwest, American, and United Airlines. Below is the following breakdown of fleet size and service by each airline:
Number of Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft: 34
Average number of daily flights on MAX aircraft: 160
Number of Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft: 24
Average number of daily flights on MAX aircraft: 90
Number of Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft: 14 (United operates sibling MAX 9 not 8)
Average number of daily flights on MAX aircraft: 40
If you have an upcoming trip on the above airlines and were scheduled to fly on a Boeing 737 MAX operated flight you should be re-accommodated by the airline free of charge. As the carriers scramble to adjust schedules and network voids left by the ground mandate, travelers can expect cancelations and delays on many routes served by the model. Overall close to 300 daily flights amongst over 72 aircraft will be impacted domestically.
There is no current timeframe on how long the grounding will remain in effect as the FAA and other governments wait for further information regarding the fatal accident of Flight 302 in Ethiopia.