Former DOT Secretary Calls For Grounding Boeing 737 Max | WBEZ
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Morning Shift

Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Calls For Grounding Boeing 737 Max

President Donald Trump on Wednesday grounded all Boeing 737 Max 8 jets after most countries around the world determined the aircrafts were unsafe.

In the past six months, two 737 Max 8 jets have crashed, claiming nearly 350 lives. The second of those crashes happened this past weekend in Ethiopia. In response, dozens of world leaders grounded that particular model of jet. 

Dennis Muilenburg, CEO of the Chicago-based Boeing company, reportedly called President Trump on Wednesday to assure him the aircrafts are safe. But former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood called on the U.S. to ground all 737 Max 8 jets. 

LaHood joined the Morning Shift to explain his point of view.

Why ground the 737 Max 8?

Ray LaHood: I think the flying public has questions about whether these planes are safe. And the way to really eliminate that kind of concern is to ground the planes, inspect them with [Federal Aviation Administration] inspectors and also with Boeing inspectors — they’re the experts — and have them figure out what the fix should be, and then give the flying public the 100-percent assurance that these planes are safe. Because that really doesn’t exist now.

Is the decision not to ground the planes political?

LaHood: The [Federal Aviation Administration] is a highly professional organization not given to the whims of politics. I hope that they will decide to ground these planes…[but] my feeling is politics are not involved in this decision.

If the U.S. government doesn’t ground the planes, can individual airlines ground them?

LaHood: Of course they could. And, obviously, that decision was made in other countries by airlines in other countries.

What should airline passengers do if their plane is a 737 Max 8?

LaHood: Be cautious, and, I think, be on alert….Until the flying public has the assurance that these planes are 100-percent safe, I think [they’ll] look askance at these airplanes.

This interview was edited for clarity and brevity by Char Daston. Click play to hear the full conversation.

GUEST: Ray LaHood, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation; former Illinois Congressman (R-Peoria)

LEARN MORE: Man Who Grounded Dreamliner Says FAA Should Ground 737 Max, Too (Bloomberg Opinion 3/12/19)

As Europe And Others Ground Boeing 737 Max 8s, U.S. Holds Back (New York Times 3/12/19)

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