'No basis' to ground Boeing 737 MAX: US regulator
Washington DC: The US aviation regulator said Tuesday that there is "no basis" for grounding Boeing's 737 MAX aircraft, one of which was involved in a crash in Ethiopia that killed 157 people.
"Thus far, our review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft," Federal Aviation Administration chief Daniel Elwell said in a statement.
"Nor have other civil aviation authorities provided data to us that would warrant action." A new Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 went down minutes into a flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi on Sunday, killing all 157 people on board.
That followed the October crash of a new Lion Air jet of the same model in Indonesia, which killed 189 people shortly after takeoff from Jakarta.
Despite Boeing's assurances that the plane is safe and reliable, the European Union, Britain and India joined China and other countries that either grounded the best-selling plane or banned it from their airspace as they await the investigation into the crash. "In the course of our urgent review of data on the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash, if any issues affecting the continued airworthiness of the aircraft are identified, the FAA will take immediate and appropriate action," the FAA added. Meanwhile, Thai authorities announced on Wednesday that they will close the country's airspace to Boeing 737 MAX 9 planes. Hong Kong too banned Boeing's 737 MAX jet from its airspace until further notice.