A Boeing 737 Max takes part in a flying display at the 52nd Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport near Paris, on June 22 2017. Picture: REUTERS
A Boeing 737 Max takes part in a flying display at the 52nd Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport near Paris, on June 22 2017. Picture: REUTERS

Washington — US Senator Mitt Romney on Tuesday called on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to follow several other countries and temporarily ground Boeing’s 737 MAX 8, days after a crash in Ethiopia killed everyone onboard one of the planes.

“Out of an abundance of caution for the flying public, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) should ground the 737 MAX 8 until we investigate the causes of recent crashes and ensure the plane’s airworthiness,” Romney said in a tweet.

Romney, a Republican who was his party’s presidential candidate in 2012, joined similar calls from Senators Richard Blumenthal and Diane Feinstein, who are Democrats. Boeing and the FAA had no immediate comment on Romney’s statement.

Regulators around the world including the UK, Australia and Austria, and a growing number of airlines are grounding the 737 MAX 8 after two fatal crashes in five months.

The FAA told international carriers on Monday there was no need to ground the plane but it would mandate a software upgrade and training changes by April that Boeing confirmed late on Monday it will roll out in the coming weeks.

US transportation secretary Elaine Chao told reporters on Monday that regulators would not hesitate to act if they find a safety issue.

“If the FAA identifies an issue that affects safety, the department will take immediate and appropriate action,” Chao said. “I want people to be assured that we take these incidents, these accidents very seriously.”

President Donald Trump, who has been briefed on the Ethiopian Airlines crash according to administration officials, on Tuesday tweeted that “Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly. Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT.”

He added “complexity creates danger. All of this for great cost yet very little gain. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot. I want great flying professionals that are allowed to easily and quickly take control of a plane!”

The White House did not respond to a request for comment about whether Trump was referring to a specific airplane.

Reuters