Many more countries are grounding Boeing jets after the recent tragedies, lawmakers, aviation workers and consumers call on the United States to do the same. Meanwhile, the head of the aerospace giant on Tuesday made a personal appeal to President Trump.
Boeing’s chief executive, Dennis A. Muilenburg, called from Chicago and assured to Mr. Trump his confidence in the safety of the 737 Max 8 jets, according to two people briefed on the conversation. Two of the planes flown by overseas carriers have crashed in recent months in similar accidents.
The brief call had been in the works since Monday, but it came shortly after Mr. Trump raised concerns that the increasing use of technology in airplanes was compromising passenger safety. “Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly,” he wrote on Twitter. “Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT.”
Not long after the conversation, Mr. Muilenburg received more unpleasant reactions. The European Union suspended “all flight operations” of the Boeing 737 Max 8 model, a striking move by one of the industry’s important regulators. By evening, the Federal Aviation Administration said that it was continuing with its review and that the planes could keep flying.
Yet the decision in Europe means roughly two-thirds of the Boeing Max 8 aircraft in the world have been pulled from use in the two days since the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight that killed 157 people. The swift actions by authorities around the world were driven in part by concerns about a connection to a similar disaster involving a Max 8 in Indonesia last October, when a Lion Air flight plunged into the Java Sea shortly after takeoff, killing all 189 people aboard.
[Boeing’s 737 Max 8 jets are grounded nearly everywhere. Here are lists by airline and country.]
By Tuesday afternoon, the United States was nearly alone among major countries still allowing the jets to fly.