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David Fickling

Fate of 737 Max Could Turn On a Single Trump Tweet

Whether to ground the Boeing aircraft after Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines crash is as much a political as a technical decision.

First there was Lion Air.

First there was Lion Air.

Photographer: Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images

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Will the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration join regulators in other countries and order a global grounding of the 737 Max 8, the Boeing Co. airliner involved in two similar crashes in five months? The answer isn’t as clear-cut as some might think.

While the agency issued a notice Monday to the Max 8’s 59 operators stating its “continued airworthiness,” the decision on whether to stand by that call depends as much on political judgment as any yes-or-no technical assessment.