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

Figures reveal spike in highway traffic jams between Abbotsford and Langley

Nearly one in 20 westbound vehicles between Abbotsford and Langley clocked at under 60 km/h

Taser takedown in Chilliwack complex after incident gets violent

Male suspect became agitated under questioning and repeatedly punched an officer

Harrison looks to test viability of solar power

Harrison has applied for a grant to see whether solar power is an option for its village buildings

Agassiz man pleads guilty in snake venom death of toddler

Plea comes more than five years after the incident in North Vancouver

Funding uncertain, but Agassiz’s Storytime in the Park will go on, organizer says

The literacy program takes place each summer in Agassiz, Harrison and Seabird Island

VIDEO: Agassiz remembers local officer at grave-marking ceremony

Montague White-Fraser had been buried in the Old Cemetery for 92 years without a headstone

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

UPDATE: One dead after house fire in rural Maple Ridge

Dewdney Trunk Road closed, traffic being re-routed

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

Highway 1 closed near Revelstoke

No estimated time for opening

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

Most Read