12:36 GMT +322 October 2019
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    A Boeing 737 MAX returns from a flight test at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington

    US Lawmakers Say Boeing Max 8 Planes to Be Grounded 'for Weeks'

    © REUTERS / Jason Redmond
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    Earlier on Thursday, President Trump said he hoped Boeing could figure out what was wrong with its 737 airliners quickly, and that the decision to ground them would only be in place for a short period.

    Lawmakers coming out of a briefing with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials said Thursday that Boeing's 737 MAX 8 and 9 aircraft would remain grounded for at least "weeks" until the necessary software upgrade was created, tested and installed aboard all of its planes, Reuters has reported.

    The news comes following US aviation officials' decision on Wednesday to ground the new planes amid safety concerns after an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash on Sunday left 157 people dead. Individual airlines and governments around the world grounded their fleets of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft this week, with the Federal Aviation Administration becoming the last authority to do so. 

    Earlier on Thursday, President Donald Trump expressed hope that the emergency order grounding the aircraft would be "short," adding that while the aerospace giant was under "great pressure," the decision to ground the planes was necessary.

    Black Box Damaged But Intact

    Also Thursday, France's air accident investigation agency released a photo of the black box of the Ethiopian Airlines jet, showing it to be damaged by intact.

    Investigators hope the black box, one of two onboard the fated plane, will help determine what caused the crash. Both black boxes arrived in France for analysis earlier in the day. The other recorder, a cockpit voice recorder, is expected to provide crucial details on the conversations between the pilots and air traffic controllers in the moments before the crash.

    On Sunday, a Boeing 373 MAX 8 operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people on board.

    The crash was the second fatal incident involving the new narrow-body aircraft in less than five months. Last October, a Boeing 737 MAX 8 operated by Indonesia's Lion Air plunged into the Java Sea shortly after takeoff, with 189 passengers and crew killed in that incident. According to the preliminary probe, the plane's sensors were showing incorrect speed and altitude readings.

    The 737 MAX was introduced in 2017, with 376 of the planes built as of February 2019.

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