WASHINGTON - Passengers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport had to wait for another plane to take them to Los Angeles after the Federal Aviation Administration grounded all Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 aircraft after two deadly crashes overseas.
Channel 2's Alyssa Hyman spoke to consumer advisor Clark Howard, who said it's good news for the hundreds who fly in and out of Hartsfield-Jackson daily. He says the impacts will be minimal, since we're talking about such a small percentage of overall flights.
President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he issued the emergency order. Trump said any plane currently in the air will go to its destination and then be grounded, adding that pilots and airlines have been notified.
The move comes after an Ethiopian Airlines crash killed 157 people Sunday and a previous crash involving the model five months ago.
"All of those planes are grounded effectively immediately," says President Trump speaking of the Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9.— Karen Travers (@karentravers) March 13, 2019
The president says FAA will have more soon regarding what he called "an emergency order of prohibition"
ABC News said three airlines in the U.S. will be impacted. American Airlines currently has 24 of the jets in the air, Southwest has 34 and United has 14.
Passengers Hyman spoke to learned of the news while they were still sitting on the plane.
"They made the announcement that the flight was supposed to be continuing on but anyone continuing on to LA they had to have a plane change," Denine Macki said. "Hopefully I wont have to rebook flights. That would be a pain."
Howard told Hyman travelers don't need to worry.
"They're going to have no problem rebooking people. This isn't Christmas week, this isn't Thanksgiving week," he said.
Howard said the overall impact will be minimal, especially in Atlanta, because Delta doesn't fly these planes.
"Only 1 percent of flights in the United States are on Maxes so even with all the Maxes grounded, it’s going to be really easy for American, United and Southwest to reaccommodate people,” Howard said.
“We are supporting this proactive step out of an abundance of caution. Safety is a core value at Boeing for as long as we have been building airplanes; and it always will be. There is no greater priority for our company and our industry. We are doing everything we can to understand the cause of the accidents in partnership with the investigators, deploy safety enhancements and help ensure this does not happen again,” Boeing's president and CEO, Dennis Muilenburg, said in a statement Wednesday.
A statement from United Airlines said, in part: "Since Sunday, we have been working diligently on contingency plans to prepare our fleet to minimize the impact to customers. Our MAX aircraft account for roughly 40 flights a day and through a combination of spare aircraft and rebooking customers, we do not anticipate a significant operational impact as a result of this order. We will continue to work with our customers to help minimize any disruption to their travel."
Southwest Airlines said Wednesday: "While we remain confident in the MAX 8 after completing more than 88,000 flight hours accrued over 41,000 flights, we support the actions of the FAA and other regulatory agencies and governments across the globe that have asked for further review of the data – including information from the flight data recorder – related to the recent accident involving the MAX 8."
American Airlines also released a statement, saying in part: "American Airlines has 24 aircraft affected by this directive. We appreciate the FAA’s partnership, and will continue to work closely with them, the Department of Transportation, National Transportation Safety Board and other regulatory authorities, as well as our aircraft and engine manufacturers. Our teams will make every effort to rebook customers as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience.”
The decision came hours after Canada joined some 40 other countries in barring the Max 8 from its airspace.
Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau said new information indicated that the Ethiopian Airlines jet's automatic system kicked in to force the nose of the aircraft down after computer software determined it was too high. He said that in the case of the Lion Air crash off Indonesia, the pilot fought against computer software that wanted to drop the nose of the plane.
Ethiopian Airlines said Wednesday that flight recorders from the jet that crashed will be sent abroad for analysis, but it was unclear where. Some aviation experts have warned that finding answers in the crash could take months.
While aviation experts warn against drawing conclusions until more information emerges from the investigation, more than 40 countries -- including the entire European Union -- have suspended flights by the Max 8 or barred it from their airspace. China also ordered its airlines to ground the planes. They had 96 Max 8 jets in service, more than one-fourth of the approximately 370 Max jets in circulation.
The list of countries continued to grow Wednesday. Lebanon and Kosovo barred the Boeing 737 Max 8 from their airspace, and Norwegian Air Shuttles said it would seek compensation from Boeing after grounding its fleet. Egypt banned the operation of the aircraft. Thailand ordered budget airline Thai Lion Air to suspend flying the planes for risk assessments. Lion Air confirmed reports it has put on hold the scheduled delivery of four of the jets.
Ethiopian Airlines, widely seen as Africa's best-managed airline, grounded its remaining four models.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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