Forensics investigators and recovery teams collect personal effects and other materials from the crash site of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 on March 12, 2019 in Bishoftu, Ethiopia.

Forensics investigators and recovery teams collect personal effects and other materials from the crash site of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 on March 12, 2019 in Bishoftu, Ethiopia.

The Federal Aviation Administration has grounded all Boeing 737 Max planes operated by American companies or flying in U.S. territory.

The 737 Max aircraft were involved in two deadly crashes just a few months apart, one in Ethiopia over the weekend in which 157 people died and the other in Indonesia. The Ethiopian airliners crashed minutes after takeoff.

According to *NPR,” pilots, including some in the United States, had been reporting problems with the aircraft — including the pilot of the crash in Ethiopia, who had over 8,000 hours of flight experience.

Several countries around the world grounded these jets before the government took action on Wednesday afternoon, including Germany, China, Australia and India.

So why did it take so long for the FAA to act?

Some have questioned what’s perceived to be a dual role by the FAA of promoting U.S. aviation as well as air safety.

Boeing has spent millions of dollars lobbying on Capitol Hill and the executive branch, CNN reported.

Here’s more from them:

Last year, Boeing’s spending on lobbying topped $15.1 million, federal records show. The company ranks No. 10 in lobbying activity in Washington since 1998, according to a tally by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. That falls way behind the big trade groups such as the US Chamber of Commerce and the American Hospital Association, but ahead of some of its competitors for the government’s lucrative defense business, such as Lockheed Martin.

Although, perhaps that didn’t have the influence on policy decisions that some have surmised.

We talk with an aviation industry reporter on the role of the FAA. How do we know when a plane is safe to fly? How powerful are airline lobbyists?

Guests

  • Andy Pasztor Senior special writer, The Wall Street Journal, specializing in aviation and space

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