Ethiopian Airlines Pilot Warned Of "Flight-Control Problems" Adding To Boeing/FAA Pressure

The FAA remains stoic in its defense of Boeing in the face of the rest of the world banning, grounding, and investigating their latest 737 Max8 aircraft. However, reports today from The Wall Street Journal could force Elaine Chao to take action today.

In recordings of conversations with controllers of the pilot of the Ethiopian Airlines jet that crashed Sunday, he didn’t indicate any external problems with the jet or the flight, like a bird collision, CEO Tewolde Gebremariam told The Wall Street Journal.

The pilot “reported back to air-traffic controllers that he was having flight-control problems” and wanted to return to Addis Ababa, Mr. Gebremariam said.

The executive said he had listened to the recording and there were no other problems cited by the pilot.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration reiterated Tuesday that the aircraft is safe.

“Our review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft,” the agency said. U.S. carriers, sticking by the FAA guidance, have said they have no plans to ground flights.

But as the black boxes are investigated and if Ethiopian Air's CEO's comments are true - why wouldn't they be - then both Boeing and the FAA face a more systemic problem than is currently considered.

Boeing shares are down modestly this morning, testing post-crisis lows...

Despite American officials quietly pushing for them to be sent to the US, Ethiopia will send the black boxes from the Boeing 737 Max 8 that crashed on Sunday to Europe for analysis, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing an interview with Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde GebreMariam.