President Donald Trump vacillated about whether he should ground all Boeing 737 Max aircraft in the US, and considered whether it would negatively impact the stock market and cause panic, two people familiar with his conversation said in a Washington Post report Wednesday.
Trump reportedly leaned towards declaring the order on Tuesday, but was met with resistance from the Federal Aviation Administration, The Post reported.
The FAA’s recommendation to ground the aircraft “out of an abundance of caution” on Wednesday pivoted from its earlier statement on Tuesday evening.
“Thus far, our review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft,” Acting FAA administrator Daniel K. Elwell said in the Tuesday statement.
Trump reportedly received satellite data on Tuesday night that suggested the same 737 Max automated system that was likely involved in another deadly crash may have played a role.
A faulty sensor reading from an automated system is believed to have been the root cause of a Lion Air 737 Max crash near Indonesia in 2018, where all 189 people aboard were killed.
The president was “engaged” with advisers, one official told The Post, and compared the 737 Max with the Boeing 757, his own personal jet dubbed “Trump Force One.” Trump had reservations with the 737 Max, which he said “sucked,” and debated why Boeing continued to produce the aircraft, according to The Post.
Scrutiny over the 737 Max’s safety comes after the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 crash that killed all 157 passengers aboard the four-month-old aircraft. Following the crash, other countries grounded the aircraft, including China, which has the most number of 737s.
The US was the last country where the aircraft was substantially flown to ground the plane.