DALLAS (FOX 26) — President Donald Trump issued an emergency order on Wednesday that grounded all Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 aircraft in the wake of an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash that killed 157 people.
Many other nations had already barred the Boeing 737 Max 8 from its airspace, but until now, the Federal Aviation Administration had been saying that it didn't have any data to show the jets are unsafe.
President Trump says the safety of the American people is of "paramount concern."
Following the Federal Aviation Administration emergency order by U.S. operators, Southwest Airlines released the following statement on Wednesday:
Southwest Airlines is immediately complying with today’s FAA requirement for all U.S. airlines to ground the Boeing 737 MAX 8. As a result, we have removed our 34 MAX 8 aircraft from scheduled service. Southwest operates a fleet of more than 750 Boeing 737s, and the 34 MAX 8 aircraft account for less than five percent of our daily flights.
We have been in constant contact with the FAA and Boeing since Ethiopian Airlines’ accident last Sunday. While we remain confident in the MAX 8 after completing more than 88,000 flight hours accrued over 41,000 flights, we support the actions of the FAA and other regulatory agencies and governments across the globe that have asked for further review of the data – including information from the flight data recorder – related to the recent accident involving the MAX 8. The Safety of our Customers and Employees is our uncompromising priority, and today’s action reflects the commitment to supporting the current investigations and regulatory concerns.
Our goal is to operate our schedule with every available aircraft in our fleet to meet our Customers’ expectations during the busy spring travel season. Additionally, to support our Customers, Southwest is offering flexible rebooking policies. Any Customer booked on a cancelled MAX 8 flight can rebook on alternate flights without any additional fees or fare differences within 14 days of their original date of travel between the original city pairs. A Travel Advisory with additional information for Customers will be posted on Southwest.com.
"During our 48-year history, Southwest has continuously demonstrated our commitment to safety,” said Southwest chairman and chief executive officer Gary Kelly. "We sincerely appreciate the trust our Customers and Employees place in our airline every day, and the Southwest Team is working diligently to minimize disruptions to our Customers’ travel plans."
Passengers landing at #phx SkyHarbor react to news that 737 jet they flew in on— Boeing Max 8, has been grounded by the FAA.— Linda Fox 10 (@lindawfox10) March 13, 2019
These people came in from Houston Hobby Airport.#Fox10phoenix pic.twitter.com/JJ5083L915
FOX 26 News reported on this story from Houston and The Associated Press contributed to this report.