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UPDATE: FAA says “no basis” to ground Boeing 737 Max 8

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The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says there is “no basis” to ground the Boeing 737 Max 8 from flying – as other country aviation regulators suspend use of the aircraft after the Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday that killed 157 on board.

Airlines and regulators in various jurisdictions, including in Europe and the UK, as well as those in Argentina, Brazil, China, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, South Korea and Singapore have grounded the aircraft. New Zealand and India are the latest to suspend use of the aircraft along with UAE carrier flydubai which has 13 in its fleet.

However, American Airlines which operates 24 737 Max 8s and Southwest Airlines which has 34, are both continuing to run flights with the aircraft despite pressure from pilot unions and politicians in the US.

Acting FAA administrator, Daniel K. Elwell said: “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. “

Boeing said in a new statement: “Safety is Boeing’s number one priority and we have full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX. We understand that regulatory agencies and customers have made decisions that they believe are most appropriate for their home markets.

“We’ll continue to engage with them to ensure they have the information needed to have confidence in operating their fleets

“The United States Federal Aviation Administration is not mandating any further action at this time, and based on the information currently available, we do not have any basis to issue new guidance to operators.

The Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand said: “The decision to suspend operations by the aircraft follows recent discussions with other aviation authorities, including the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) which have responsibility for oversight of the design of the aircraft.”