13 Investigates


US grounding of Boeing 737 Max aircraft remains in effect nationwide

Airlines operate MAX 8 and 9 at McCarran Airport
Posted at 9:31 PM, Mar 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-14 09:08:04-04

UPDATE MARCH 13 11 P.M.: McCarran International Airport officials confirmed that no Boeing 737 Max aircraft are sitting at the airport.

Passengers said they are glad the planes are out of the sky but are also playing a waiting game to find out if they'll in fact return to service.

Also, McCarran is no stranger to the 737 Max as 646 arriving and departing flights were scheduled through March.

Previously, pilots in the US filed complaints with the FAA about safety issues with the aircraft.

As two pilots reported, their aircraft nosedived unexpectedly while in autopilot with one calling part of the aircraft's flight manual "inadequate and almost criminally insufficient.”

Currently, the grounding of the aircraft series continues.

UPDATE MARCH 13 11:43 A.M.: President Donald Trump has called for all Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 airplanes in the United States to be grounded. READ MORE

Two airlines, Southwest and WestJet, operate Boeing 737 MAX 8 on routes to and from Las Vegas. United operates the Boeing 737 MAX 9. At this time, no flights at McCarran appear to be impacted.

To check flight information at McCarran International Airport, click here.

Boeing released a statement after the nationwide order saying, "Boeing continues to have full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX. However, after consultation with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and aviation authorities and its customers around the world, Boeing has determined -- out of an abundance of caution and in order to reassure the flying public of the aircraft’s safety -- to recommend to the FAA the temporary suspension of operations of the entire global fleet of 371 737 MAX aircraft." READ FULL STATEMENT

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) - It's one of the most popular airplanes on the planet and now more than 30 countries have grounded or banned the Boeing 737 MAX 8 over safety concerns after two deadly crashes.

13 Investigates has learned the aircraft, the fastest selling in Boeing's history, is scheduled to take off and land from McCarran International Airport 646 times during the month of March.

"Well, being a a big guy, the room of the seats inside the plane was amazing," said Randy Zammit, a Las Vegas resident.

"It was a very bright, new aircraft," added Zammit.

Zammit returned to Las Vegas from a golfing trip in Oakland California and flew on Southwest Airlines Flight 5471, which was serviced by a Boeing 737 Max 8, Tuesday.

Zammit noted the plane was not packed with passengers.

"The people sitting next to me were saying 'This was a Max 8' and [a fellow passenger] was kind of giving a little story about it," said Zammit

"I don't fly that much but there's some familiarity with it, and it was neat that we were on a plane that was brand new," explained Zammit.

The planes, which are billed as roomier, more fuel efficient and can fly farther than previous models, are now at the center of an international concern over safety.

Investigators are trying to get to the bottom of the latest deadly crash involving an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8, Sunday.

The incident has raised new concerns after the same model jet crashed in October, which killed 189 people.

The official cause of the October crash has yet to be determined.

"No one will blame any entity of airing on the side of caution," said Ret. Lieutenant Colonel and Aviation Expert Dr. Chris Walach.

Dr. Walach said the aviation industry has a proven record of safety and is confident investigators will get to the cause of the crashes and may issue any additional safety recommendations as needed.

"I applaud the countries that have erred on the side of caution but we on the safety side don't want to be too hasty in making decisions unless there is something that warrants that decision to ground the fleet," added Dr. Walach.

The United States remains one of the countries to allow the Boeing 737 Max 8 to operate as normal.

The FAA said there was no basis to ground the jets and reaffirmed its airworthiness.

Southwest Airlines is one of the United States' largest operators of the Max 8, with 34 in their fleet of 750 Boeing aircraft.

A company spokesperson released the following statement regarding the aircraft:

As the investigation of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 progresses, we are staying in close contact with Boeing, the FAA, and other airlines to learn the cause of the accident. We operate 34 MAX 8 aircraft in our fleet of more than 750 Boeing 737s. We remain confident in the safety and airworthiness of the MAX 8. We don’t have any changes planned to our MAX 8 operations. While we are not issuing refunds of non-refundable fares, we are working with any concerned Customers individually who wish to rebook their flight to another aircraft type. As a courtesy, we will waive any fare difference.
Southwest Airlines spokesperson

EDITORS NOTE: A previous version of this story indicated the Boeing 737 MAX 8 was scheduled to fly from Las Vegas 646 times in March. This figure included both take offs and landings for a total of 646. We regret the error.

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