Against the rest of the world, Donald Trump and his administration had decided to support Boeing, in turmoil since the crash of one of his 737 MAX planes in Ethiopia on Sunday – the second in five months for this aircraft. On Tuesday, while many countries banned them in their airspace, Secretary of Transport Elaine Chao, traveling to Austin, boarded one of them to return to Washington. He himself former airline owner (the Trump Shuttle he had to give in 1992), the US president had simply regretted on Twitter that the aircraft have become "Far too complex to drive". "There is no longer a need for pilots but rather for computer scientists," ironically it.
Change of tone Wednesday afternoon when Donald Trump announced that the 737 MAX 8 and 9 of the American manufacturer were now banned from flying in the United States "with immediate effect". Imitating, almost two days late, China, the European Union, India or Mexico. And catching the US Air Regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), who was quick to justify this turnaround by obtaining "More detailed satellite data" showing similarities between the two crashes. Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg also reacted, renewing his "Total confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX" and affirming that the temporary immobilization of the fleet was done to reassure the public.
This late decision did not fail to elicit criticism from the Democratic opposition, against the President and the air regulator, accused of seeking to defend a flagship of US industry at the expense of passenger safety. Of the 370 Boeing 737 MAXs in circulation worldwide, 74 belong to American companies. United States "Should be leaders and not lagging behind in terms of aviation safety", said Thursday the Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, member of the transport commission. A parliamentary inquiry, the opening of which was announced on Tuesday, will have to determine Who knew what and when, and why [les autorités] did not act sooner, " said Blumenthal, for whom this episode will create "A crisis of confidence in the FAA". The regulator, seen as the absolute reference in terms of aviation safety, has contradictory missions, since it is also in charge of national industrial promotion. The Flight Safety Foundation, think tank of the American aviation industry, regretted "The messy approach" authorities in the face of this crisis. "Global aviation safety is better served by decisions […] that are based on facts and evidence. Not on speculation, for political reasons or because of the media pressure "said his president, Hassan Shahidi.
Isabelle Hanne correspondent in New York