Mar 13, 2019

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Situational awareness: A rapidly intensifying storm "of historic proportions" is bringing hurricane-force wind gusts and white-out conditions to multiple states from Colorado to the Dakotas. Go deeper.

1 big thing: The world grounds Boeing

The friendly skies are about to be emptied of Boeing's 737 MAX after President Trump tweeted that the FAA is grounding the MAX series "until further notice," joining the EU, Canada, China and others.

Courtesy of

Trump cited "new information and physical evidence that we’ve received from the site and from other locations and through a couple of other complaints."

  • Trump on the Boeing decision: “We didn't have to make this decision today. Could have delayed it. I felt it was important both psychologically and in a lot of ways.”
  • "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.
  • Boeing said it remains confident in the aircraft’s safety, but that it recommends a temporary suspension of operations of the entire global fleet.

Why it matters: Boeing's financial future is built on the MAX series, its flagship plane, and the company has thousands of orders to fill, Axios' Andrew Freedman emails.

Flashback: The last time the FAA grounded planes in the U.S. was also a Boeing jet, the 787, but it was for non-fatal issues and the plane was quickly put back in the sky.

What they're saying: "Boeing will have to pay off [some airlines] for the planes being out of commission for a certain period of time," CreditSights transportation analyst Roger King told Axios' Courtenay Brown.

  • "But in the long run, the financial implication of this won't be huge. I don't think these planes will be off the ground for long."
  • Shares of Southwest, one of two U.S. airlines that fly the 737 MAX 8, fell initially on the news, but King doesn't expect airlines will think twice about their business with Boeing.
  • "The airplane market is a duopoly. They can't go to [competitor] Airbus because those planes are booked out for nine years," King said.

The bottom line: Boeing's monthly production goal is 57 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, with a backlog of about 4,700 planes. This means the stakes for the company couldn't be higher to get the ban lifted as soon as possible while ensuring the plane's safety, Andrew notes.

Bonus: Making a difference
Photo: Daniel Reinhardt/dpa via AP

Swedish teen climate activist nominated for Nobel Peace Prize by three Norwegian lawmakers, per AP:

  • Greta Thunberg, 16, has encouraged students to skip school to demand faster action on climate change, a movement that goes worldwide on March 15.
2. What you missed
  1. NASA is considering launching the first mission of its Orion crew capsule in 2020 using commercial rockets. Go deeper.
  2. The U.S. referred to the Golan Heights for the first time as an area "under Israeli control," instead of "occupied territory." Details.
  3. The ringleader of the alleged $25 million college entrance bribery scheme said he worked with more than 750 families to get their children into college. Go deeper.
  4. The State Department referred to China's re-education camps for Uighur Muslims as some of the worst human rights violations "since the 1930s." Details.
  5. Paul Manafort was sentenced in D.C. to 73 months for crimes related to his work as a political consultant in Ukraine. Go deeper.
  6. Howard Schultz "vowed to sign only legislation that has bipartisan support and to not put forward any Supreme Court nominee who cannot be confirmed by two-thirds of the Senate. ... [and] said that he would assemble a Cabinet that includes members from across the political spectrum and consists of a larger share of women than that of any previous president." [AP]
3. 1 pup thing
Kate Willoughby, part of the chopper rescue crew, holds Ben after today's rescue. Maritime & Coastguard Agency via AP)

During a winter training mission in northeastern Scotland today, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency crew spotted a stranded dog on the snowy Cairngorms mountains below, AP reports.

  • Winchman Mark Stevens was lowered to the ground, scooped up the cold and frightened pooch, and both were raised back to the helicopter.

Ben was cuddled and warmed on board before being rushed to a vet.

  • The dog, missing for two days in dangerous weather, has recovered from the exposure and has been reunited with his owner.
Mike Allen