The acting administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday morning that he didn’t know when Boeing 737 Max 8 or 9 aircraft would fly again in U.S. airspace.
“We don’t know how long the planes will be grounded,” Daniel Elwell told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos in an interview.
The black boxes from Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which crashed about six minutes after taking off on Sunday, killing all 157 people aboard, have arrived in France and could provide initial data for further study by the end of the day, Elwell added.
The raw flight data initially available on Sunday and Monday didn’t match that of the Boeing 737 that crashed in October in Indonesia, killing all 189 people on board.
But after the data were further refined through a joint effort including the efforts of Boeing, a satellite data provider and the National Transportation Safety Board, revealed more similarities, Elwell said.
“When we could see the refined data,” Elwell told Stephanopoulos, “it matched too closely to the Lion Air trajectory to figure that they weren’t similar.”
President Donald Trump on Wednesday ordered the 737 Max 8 and 9 jets grounded, joining Ethiopia, Indonesia, China and European Union.
A proposed software fix for the 737 is “almost complete,” Elwell said.
“We expect by the end of this month all the testing will be complete, and we will authorize implementation of the fix,” Elwell added.