After FAA doubles down on 737 decision, Canada grounds the planes amid reports of complaints from U.S. pilots

After the Federal Aviation Administration issued a statement late yesterday doubling down on its decision to keep the Boeing 737 Max planes at the heart of two accident investigations flying, Canada has become the latest nation to ground the plane.

“There are — and I hasten to say not conclusive — but there are similarities,” said Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau, in a statement broadcast on Canadian television. Garneau noted that the similarities “exceed a certain threshold in our minds with respect to the possible cause of what happened in Ethiopia. This is not conclusive, but it is something that points possibly in that direction, and at this point we feel that threshold has been crossed.”

Canadian concerns actually echo incident reports that were made by pilots in the U.S. regarding the control system of Boeing’s latest version of its 737 flagship aircraft.

At least two pilots who had flown the 737 Max 8 planes in the U.S. commented in incident reports about the noses of their planes dipping when the autopilot system on the aircraft had been engaged, according to a report in The New York Times citing a federal government database of incident reports.

Those reported problems are similar to the ones that occurred before the October Lion Air crash of Flight 610 in Indonesia.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is standing behind its decision to keep the Boeing 737 Max 8 planes airborne.

In a statement issued late yesterday, the FAA said it is reviewing all available data and has found “no systemic performance issues.”

The plane has been involved in two accidents within the last 6 months.

On Sunday, an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed just after take off killing all 157 people on board. Last year, in October, the Boeing 737 Max 8 was involved in a crash in which an Indonesian Lion Air jet also crashed, killing 189 passengers and crew.

Roughly 350 737 Max 8 planes remain in service around the globe, mainly in the U.S.

Meanwhile, fleets using Boeing’s latest 737 in countries across the globe have grounded the aircraft. The plane has been suspended from service in AeroMexico, Argentina, Australia, Brazil’s Gol airline, China, Egypt, all European countries, three Persian Gulf states, India, Iceland, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Singapore, South Korea, and Turkey.

Here’s the full statement from the FAA.

The FAA continues to review extensively all available data and aggregate safety performance from operators and pilots of the Boeing 737 MAX. Thus far, our review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft.  Nor have other civil aviation authorities provided data to us that would warrant action.  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.

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