When Donald Trump spoke with Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg on Tuesday to get assurances concerning the security of the 737 MAX aircraft that crashed in Ethiopia, he wasn’t speaking to a stranger.
The U.S. president, who owned his personal airline, Trump Shuttle, from 1989 to 1992, is an aviation fanatic.
Earlier than changing into president he had his personal non-public jet and since his inauguration, he has taken seen delight within the presidential plane, Air Power One.
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His aviation connections have expanded throughout his presidency to incorporate relationships with highly effective executives within the protection business, together with Muilenburg, with whom he has talked a number of instances.
Muilenburg instructed Trump in Tuesday’s morning name that the plane was secure and didn’t must be grounded, two folks briefed on the dialog mentioned.
Later within the day, aviation officers repeated that U.S. flights of the aircraft would proceed.
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That leaves the US as an outlier in its response to Sunday’s crash of a Boeing 737 MAX that killed 157 folks. The European Union’s aviation security regulator on Tuesday suspended all flights by the aircraft within the bloc; of the highest 10 international locations by air passenger journey, all however the US and Japan have halted flights.
U.S. officers, together with a bipartisan group of 5 Senators, are asking why the FAA will not be doing the identical. U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican who chairs the Senate subcommittee on aviation and house, mentioned he intends to convene a listening to to research.
The Ethiopian crash follows considered one of a 737 MAX 5 months in the past in Indonesia that killed 189 folks. There is no such thing as a proof but that the 2 disasters are linked. Aircraft specialists say it’s too early to invest on the reason for the crash.
Trump personally negotiated with Muilenburg to attempt to decrease the price of a future model of Air Power One after complaining the worth tag was too excessive.
“He cares about enterprise and he creates open communication traces, and we may have variations occasionally, we might not agree on each subject,” Muilenburg mentioned in a radio interview final month.
However whereas the connection hasn’t all been cozy, ties between Boeing and the Trump administration run deep.
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Trump has used Boeing merchandise and websites as a backdrop for main bulletins over the course of his presidency. In March 2018 he touted the influence of his tax overhaul invoice as he visited a plant in St. Louis.
Earlier than becoming a member of the Pentagon, appearing Protection Secretary Patrick Shanahan, who is anticipated to be named to the publish, labored for 31 years at Boeing, the place he was basic supervisor for the 787 Dreamliner passenger jet.
Boeing has nominated Nikki Haley, Trump’s former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who continues to be an in depth ally, to affix its board of administrators on the firm’s annual shareholders assembly on April 29.
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Trump has additionally put stress on U.S. allies to purchase merchandise from Boeing, the nation’s second largest protection contractor which acquired $104 billion in unclassified protection contracts between 2014 and 2018.
U.S. officers and protection business sources mentioned that weeks after Trump pressed the Emir of Kuwait in 2018 over a long-delayed deal for Boeing’s F/A-18 Tremendous Hornet fighter jets, Kuwait mentioned it could proceed with the order.
Boeing can be one of many largest U.S. exporters to China, and Muilenburg instructed an aviation summit in Washington that purchases of its U.S.-made plane by China could possibly be a part of a sweeping commerce deal at the moment being negotiated.
Plane exports have to this point been spared from retaliatory Chinese language tariffs.