Mar 11, 2019

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Situational awareness: In an interview released today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told the Washington Post that impeaching President Trump is "just not worth it."

1 big thing: Boeing's nightmare scenario

An American Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 lands at LaGuardia Airport. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

After an unprecedented two crashes of brand new aircraft in six months, 22 airlines and three countries have now grounded the newest version of the bestselling jet of all time, the Boeing 737 MAX 8.

Why it matters: Boeing has staked much of its future on the success of the 737 MAX series, Axios Science editor Andrew Freedman reports.

  • According to Boeing, the company has already notched more than 4,700 orders.
  • The MAX 8 is intended as Boeing's answer to its archival Airbus' A320neo, and it could find itself losing ground to the European manufacturer should there be a major flaw in its new aircraft.

The big picture: Boeing last encountered a similar crisis with its introduction of the 787 in 2013, with issues centering around the lithium-ion batteries that power the aircraft's computer systems. The FAA grounded all 787s for 4 months, even though the incidents were non-fatal.

  • Right now, three U.S. airlines use the Boeing 737 MAX series aircraft: American, Southwest and United.

The Ethiopian Air crash on Sunday bears initial, eerie similarities to the Lion Air disaster in October, in that both planes crashed soon after takeoff, and preliminary radar data shows that both aircraft oscillated in altitude before plunging toward the ground.

  • While the cause of the latest accident won't be known for months, the possibility that the accident is also the result of an automated system to prevent the plane from stalling has prompted three countries, China, Indonesia and Ethiopia, along with multiple airlines to temporarily ground the planes.
  • "A witness to the crash told The Associated Press that smoke was coming from the rear of the plane before it hit the ground." [AP]
  • Boeing has sent an investigative team to Ethiopia to assist with the investigation, saying in a statement: “Safety is our No. 1 priority and we are taking every measure to fully understand all aspects of this accident, working closely with the investigating team and all regulatory authorities involved.”

Between the lines: Axios' Courtenay Brown points out that Boeing is the most influential stock in the oft-cited Dow Jones Industrial Average, which gives the heaviest weighting to the company with the highest share price.

  • A continued sell-off in Boeing's shares — which accounted for about 25% of the Dow's rebound this year — would drag the index down with it, she notes.

What's next: The FAA sought to reassure domestic and international operators of the 737 MAX 8 that the plane is safe by stating it will issue a bulletin to that effect later today.

Editor's note: This piece has been corrected to show that United operates a MAX series aircraft (not the MAX 8).

Bonus: Pic du jour

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Simona Mangiante, wife of former Trump campaign foreign affairs adviser George Papadopoulos, arrives in the Hart Senate Office Building.

  • She was scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed hearing.
2. What you missed
  1. Trump's 2020 budget proposal is a record $4.75 trillion, in which he called for a 5% increase in military spending and a $1.9 trillion cut to safety net programs. Details.
  2. Sarah Sanders refused to directly answer whether Trump believes Democrats hates Jews, following an Axios report that Trump made those types of comments in a speech to RNC donors this weekend. Video.
  3. New York Magazine has laid off 16 full-time staffers and 16 freelancers or part-time employees. Details.
  4. Solar geoengineering could offset global warming without causing harm, a new report claims. Go deeper.
3. 1 AR thing
Photo: Niantic

The Harry Potter version of "Pokemon Go" is on the way, with new details released by the company on what to expect, Variety reports.

  • "Wizards who heed that call can participate in the game much in the same way players take part in 'Pokemon Go' — by walking around, and discovering magic places on map view of their neighborhood."
  • "Only, in 'Wizards Unite,' those places aren’t Pokestops and Gyms, but inns, greenhouses, fortresses and magical traces that unlock encounters with creatures ranging from werewolves to death eaters."
Mike Allen