SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Sen. Mitt Romney became the first Republican senator Tuesday to call on the Federal Aviation Administration to temporarily ground the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.
"Out of an abundance of caution for the flying public, the @FAANews should ground the 737 MAX 8 until we investigate the causes of recent crashes and ensure the plane’s airworthiness," he said on Twitter.
Romney's comments come two days after 157 people were killed on a Max 8 during a flight from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to Nairobi, Kenya. In October, the same plane model flown by Lion Air crashed off the coast of Indonesia, killing 189 people.
The FAA on Monday issued a notice deeming Boeing 737 Max fleet airworthy.
Germany, Britain and France joined Ireland, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and Oman in banning all Boeing 737 Max 8 planes from their airspaces on Tuesday, according to news reports.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, weighed in later Tuesday, joining several Democrats who earlier called for the jets to be grounded.
"I believe it would be prudent for the United States to likewise ground 737 Max aircraft until the FAA confirms the safety of these aircraft and their passengers," he said in a statement.
Cruz, chairman of Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation and Space, said he intends to hold a hearing to investigate the contributing factors to the crashes.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and a presidential candidate, also said the U.S. should take cues from countries that have grounded the planes.
"The FAA should follow their lead, reverse their decision, and immediately ground this plane in the United States until its safety can be assured," she said in a statement.
Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal, of Connecticut, and Dianne Feinstein, of California, also called for the plane to be grounded.
"The FAA (and) the airline industry must act quickly (and) decisively to protect American travelers, pilots, (and) flight attendants. All Boeing 737 Max 8s should be grounded until American travelers can be assured that these planes are safe," Blumenthal tweeted Monday.
An FAA team is on site with the National Transportation Safety Board in its investigation of the Ethiopian Airlines crash.21 comments on this story
"If we identify an issue that affects safety, the FAA will take immediate and appropriate action," according to the FAA
In a statement Tuesday, Boeing said it has “full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX” and recognized that regulatory agencies and customers have made decisions they feel are appropriate for their markets.
“It is also important to note that the Federal Aviation Administration is not mandating any further action at this time, and based on the information currently available, we do not have any basis to issue new guidance to operators,” according to Boeing.