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'No basis' to ground 737 Max: FAA

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reiterates it has seen "no basis" to order a grounding of the Boeing 737 Max, as the USA remains the prominent outlier among a handful of countries that have not suspended operations with the aircraft after the fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash on 10 March.

"The FAA continues to review extensively all available data and aggregate safety performance from operators and pilots of the Boeing 737 Max," says acting FAA administrator Daniel Elwell. "Thus far, our review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft."

Despite civil aviation authorities in several countries ordering their airlines to ground the 737 Max in the last two days – and, in some cases, prohibit flights operated with the aircraft in their airspace – Elwell says: "Nor have other civil aviation authorities provided data to us that would warrant action."

US carriers had operated the second largest fleet of 737 Max aircraft in the world after Chinese airlines, before China's aviation regulator grounded the type on 11 March. American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines operate a combined 72 737 Max aircraft, Cirium's Fleets Analyzer shows.

Alongside the FAA, a small number of countries with 737 Max operators have yet to order a grounding of the aircraft, including Canada, Panama, Russia and Thailand. Among these, Canadian airlines had operated the world's third largest fleet of 737 Max aircraft with 40 jets, Fleets Analyzer shows.

"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," says Elwell.

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