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FAA not grounding 737 MAX after 2nd fatal crash

(Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Controversy continues to swirl around Boeing, but following a second fatal 737 MAX crash, the FAA is stopping short of grounding the plane entirely.

RELATED: Seattle firm files lawsuit against Boeing over Lion Air crash
RELATED: New details highlight Lion Air jet’s problems before crash

This comes after European air safety regulator EASA opted to ground the MAX, with the Flight Attendant Union petitioning the FAA to do the same.

“This is about public confidence in the safety of air travel,” said Association of Flight Attendants President Sara Nelson. “The United States has the safest aviation system in the world, but Americans are looking for leadership in this time of uncertainty. The FAA must act decisively to restore the public faith in the system.”

A total of 189 people died in a Lion Air crash out of Indonesia on Oct. 29, 2018, when the plane nose-dived into the ocean. A total of 157 people died in the Ethiopian tragedy Sunday. Similar to the Indonesian crash, the pilot of the plane in Ethiopia sent a distress call shortly after takeoff.

An initial report from the FAA also noted that while it doesn’t have enough data to draw any conclusions, “external reports are drawing similarities between this accident and the Lion Air 610 accident.”

Boeing has over 300 737 MAX planes in service across the globe. An estimate from a pair of Wall Street firms says that grounding the entire inventory for just three months would cost the company anywhere between $1 billion and $5 billion.

That being so, a statement from Boeing issued Tuesday said that it has “full confidence in the safety of the MAX.”

Meanwhile, a Seattle firm has already filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Boeing on behalf of the families of 17 victims of the fatal Lion Air crash. The suit alleges that Boeing concealed a key system in the 737 MAX that caused the October crash, all in the name of boosting sales.

“That mistake is driven by market forces trying to make the plane more competitive against Airbus, at a lower price, at least as far as training,” said Charles Herrmann, the principle attorney with the firm leading the lawsuit.

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