U.S. grounding of Boeing jet shows limits of company’s clout

President Donald Trump announced the 737 Max 8 and Max 9 jets in the U.S. were being grounded

Aerospace giant Boeing is a juggernaut in Washington, employing a team of in-house lobbyists and blue chip firms as part of a multimillion dollar influence operation built to shape policy on Capitol Hill and inside the Trump administration.

But the company’s clout goes only so far.

READ MORE: Canada bans Boeing 737 Max 8 plane following fatal Ethiopian crash

Bowing to international pressure, U.S. President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 aircraft in the U.S. were being grounded following the Ethiopian Airlines disaster and another crash involving the same model jet five months earlier in Indonesia. Many nations in the world had already barred the aircraft from their airspace.

Trump said he didn’t want to take any chances, even though the Federal Aviation Administration had said it didn’t have any data to show the passenger jets are unsafe.

Still, Trump gave Boeing a vote of confidence, declaring it “a great, great company with a track record that is so phenomenal.”

The crash in Ethiopia had cast a spotlight on the FAA’s decision to continue to permit the airliner to fly even as other countries grounded it — and onto Trump’s ties to Boeing and the company’s influence in Washington.

The president spoke by phone with Boeing’s CEO Dennis Muilenburg, a frequent participant in White House events, on Tuesday. The FAA said the same day it remained confident in the aircraft even as governments in Europe and Asia grounded the plane.

Muilenburg urged Trump not to ground the fleet, according to a White House official not authorized to publicly discuss a private conversation. It was not clear whether the call influenced the FAA’s decision.

Trump’s acting defence secretary, Patrick Shanahan, worked as a top executive for the aviation manufacturer for decades. Trump has often praised Shanahan publicly, noting his reputation at Boeing for managing costs and rescuing a troubled Dreamliner 787 jet airliner program.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Microbrewery seeks permission to expand food & beer servings

Council gives thumbs up to Loud Mouth Brewery’s application for a lounge endorsement

Compromise or conflict?

Addressing industrial land use could take pressure off farmland

Fraser Valley Bandits drop second game

Fourth quarter collapse leads to eventual 95-94 loss to Guelph

Abbotsford Senior Secondary theatre students present Cagebirds

Production, featuring eight female characters, is a metaphor about societal ‘cages’

Abbotsford’s 2nd modular housing project expected to start tenanting next month

Site at Livingstone Avenue near Peardonville Road to support 40 units for women and children

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of Victoria Day

How much do you know about the monarch whose day we celebrate each May?

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

UPDATE: Multi-vehicle crash on Highway 1 east of Chilliwack

First responders on scene with multiple patients from four vehicles involved in westbound lanes

Police watchdog investigating motorcycle crash in Kamloops

A Kamloops Mountie had stopped the driver for speeding, but they raced off from the 0fficer

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

Most Read