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Trump, Boeing CEO discuss Ethiopia crash: industry source

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President Donald Trump spoke with Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg on Tuesday about the crash of a 737 Max 8 aircraft that killed 157 people, an industry source told AFP.

[NEW YORK] President Donald Trump spoke with Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg on Tuesday about the crash of a 737 Max 8 aircraft that killed 157 people, an industry source told AFP.

The telephone call took place after Mr Trump sent a blistering tweet earlier in the day that said: "Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly."

Mr Muilenburg assured Mr Trump that the aircraft is safe and reliable, the source said.

The source declined to say who initiated the phone call or how long it lasted. Boeing would not comment on the call.

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Many countries have banned the 737 Max 8 from their skies following the crash in Ethiopia on Sunday, the second involving the model in five months, but US regulators have stopped short of doing so.

The US Federal Aviation Administration has a team in Ethiopia working on the investigation, but said there are "no updates so far."

"We continue to be involved in the accident investigation and will make decisions on any further steps based on the evidence," FAA spokesperson Lynn Lunsford told AFP in an email early Tuesday.

The European Union, Britain and India joined several other countries in grounding Boeing's top-selling, single-aisle passenger jet.

EU Aviation Safety Agency closed its airspace to all 737 Max 8 and 9 aircraft, regardless of airline or origin of the flight, saying that, based on preliminary information, "further actions may be necessary to ensure the continued airworthiness of the two affected models."

Boeing said that in the wake of the Lion Air crash in October, it has been working on "flight control software enhancement" to be deployed by April to address an issue that could arise from a faulty sensor.

Mr Muilenburg lamented the latest tragedy, but said he had no doubts about the safety of the plane.

"We are confident in the safety of the 737 Max," he said in an email to Boeing workers.

AFP