Canada grounds Boeing Max planes, ramping up pressure on FAA

FAA: Boeing 737 MAX to get software update

The decision by Canadian authorities to ground the Boeing 737 Max in their airspace is the latest sign of mounting pressure on US regulators to take similar action.

Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau said Wednesday his office analyzed new satellite tracking data from the Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed Sunday and found “there are similarities,” but not conclusive, to the October Lion Air crash.

The US Federal Aviation Administration, he said, will “have to make their own decision.”

The FAA said Tuesday evening its “review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft.”

The agency did not immediately comment when asked about the data Canadian authorities discussed.

That position is supported by the Allied Pilots Association, but not by two major US flight attendant unions, which have called for the planes to be grounded.

On Wednesday morning, prior to the Canadian announcement, a person familiar with the FAA deliberations said all data reviewed by the agency shows “this airplane is performing to its certifications.”

“The big question becomes what happened this time — was it the same thing or was it something different” from the cause of the Lion Air crash, the person said.

The answer to that question is expected to come from the flight data recorder, which investigators have located but yet to interpret.

Regulators in about 20 countries and the European Union have grounded the plane.

“I think now the FAA is in an untenable situation. It’s time to put the planes on the ground,” said CNN aviation expert Peter Goelz, reacting to the Canadian announcement and the anonymous pilot complaint database. Goelz previously defended the FAA’s position.