FAA keeps 737 MAX 8 airplanes's flying as European Union grounds them

Pressure is mounting on Boeing after more airlines and countries grounded their fleets of 737 Max 8 jets in the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines disaster.

The aviation authority will contact the US Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing, it said.

Pilots repeatedly voiced safety concerns about the Boeing 737 Max 8 to federal authorities, with one captain calling the flight manual "inadequate and nearly criminally insufficient" several months before Sunday's Ethiopian Air crash that killed 157 people, an investigation by The Dallas Morning News found.

Preliminary reports following the Lion Air MAX 8 crash - the newest version of Boeing's single-aisle, narrow body aircraft - found the pilots struggled to control the plane.

This photo shows a Boeing 737 Max 8 type aircraft at William P. Hobby Airport in Houston on Monday, March 11, 2019. The latest incident follows another deadly accident in Indonesia last October, when 189 people were killed in a Lion Air flight crash.

Following the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, so far the facts don't support grounding the aircraft, says John Goglia, former NTSB investigator.

A growing list of countries, including Britain, France, Australia, and China, as well as individual airlines across the world have already temporarily grounded their 737 Max 8s.

Southwest Airlines is offering passengers scheduled to fly on one of the Boeing planes the chance to change their bookings.

Boeing said it stands by the plane.

The plane ploughed into a field some 60 kilometres east of Addis Ababa - just six minutes after taking off.

A man who said he barely missed the doomed Ethiopian Airlines flight took to Facebook to share an emotional post about his experience.

Dennis Muilenbur, Boeing's CEO said on Sunday they are providing "technical assistance" to the Ethiopian government and regulatory authorities to help with the investigation. The plane, in British Airways colours, started flying South African routes last week and was still in the air on Monday from Cape Town to Johannesburg.

It said: "If we identify an issue that affects safety, the FAA will take immediate and appropriate action".

Since the airspace ban, at least two 737 MAX 8s bound for the United Kingdom have been forced to turn around mid-air.

  • Leroy Wright