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Boeing 737 MAX. Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Following 2 fatal crashes in less than 6 months, the FAA said it will issue an emergency order temporarily banning Boeing 737 MAX series aircraft from flying in the U.S., or entering its airspace.

Why it matters: The action is a retreat from the FAA's previous strategy of reaffirming the safety of the new aircraft, even as airlines and aviation regulators from dozens of countries, including Canada and the European Union, went ahead and grounded their fleets. The FAA has not grounded a new aircraft type since the Boeing 787 had a series of non-fatal lithium ion battery fires in 2013.

  • “The safety of the American people, of all people, is our paramount concern,” Trump said in advance of the ban, telling reporters the ban would be "until further notice."

A ban would affect 3 U.S. airlines that operate these aircraft: United, American and Southwest Airlines.

Details: In a statement, the FAA said it made the decision as a result of "new evidence" from the Ethiopian Airlines crash that was analyzed today.

"This evidence, together with newly refined satellite data available to FAA today, led to this decision," the FAA stated.

"The grounding will remain in effect pending further investigation, including examination of information from the aircraft's flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders," the FAA said, declining to speculate how long the grounding will last.

FAA Administrator Daniel Elwell said "Since this accident occurred we were resolute that we would not take action until we had data," adding, "That data coalesced today ... added fidelity — missing pieces that we did not have prior to to today."

Boeing released a statement saying it remains confident in the aircraft's safety, but that it recommends a temporary suspension of operations of the global fleet of 737 MAX aircraft.

“We are supporting this proactive step out of an abundance of caution. We are doing everything we can to understand the cause of the accidents in partnership with the investigators, deploy safety enhancements and help ensure this does not happen again.”
— Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg

Between the lines: A suspected cause of the Lion Air crash in Indonesia on Oct. 29 is a malfunction with an automated system Boeing installed to prevent a dangerous flight condition known as a stall.

  • The system, called the maneuvering characteristics augmentation system, or MCAS, appeared to activate based on faulty readings from a flight sensor, pushing the plane's nose down repeatedly as the pilots struggled to regain control.
  • Investigators are looking to see if the Ethiopian crash, which also took place shortly after takeoff, was caused by the same system.

Read the FAA's emergency order:

Go deeper

Resurrecting Martin Luther King's office

King points to Selma, Alabama on a map at his Southern Christian Leadership Conference office in Atlanta in January 1965. Photo: Bettmann/Getty Contributor

Efforts to save the office where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., planned some of the most important moments of the civil rights movement are hitting roadblocks amid a political stalemate.

Why it matters: The U.S. Park Service needs to OK agreements so a developer restoring the historic Prince Hall Masonic Lodge in Atlanta — which once housed King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference — can tap into private funding and begin work.

Off the Rails

Episode 4: Trump turns on Barr

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Drew Angerer, Pool/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 4: Trump torches what is arguably the most consequential relationship in his Cabinet.

Attorney General Bill Barr stood behind a chair in the private dining room next to the Oval Office, looming over Donald Trump. The president sat at the head of the table. It was Dec. 1, nearly a month after the election, and Barr had some sharp advice to get off his chest. The president's theories about a stolen election, Barr told Trump, were "bullshit."

In photos: Protests outside fortified capitols draw only small groups

Armed members of the far-right extremist group the Boogaloo Bois near the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing on Jan. 17. About 20 protesters showed up, AP notes. Photo: Seth Herald/AFP via Getty Images

Small groups of protesters gathered outside fortified statehouses across the U.S. over the weekend ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

The big picture: Some protests attracted armed members of far-right extremist groups but there were no reports of clashes, as had been feared. The National Guard and law enforcement outnumbered demonstrators, as security was heightened around the U.S. to avoid a repeat of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots, per AP.