Philly airport expects minimal travel issues after grounding of Boeing 737 Max planes

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Facing mounting pressure, President Donald Trump said Wednesday his administration was ordering Boeing 737 Max jets grounded until more information is gathered about the crash of an Ethiopian aircraft.

It was a turnabout from the administration's earlier position, which deemed the planes safe to fly even as dozens of other nations banned them after they were involved in two fatal disasters.

Officials at Philadelphia International Airport say they expect minimal impact to travelers because of the grounding of these planes.

The Boeing 737 Max 8 coming from Phoenix landed at Philadelphia International Airport around 5:30 p.m. and then it was grounded.

Any planes already in flight when the announcement was made were ordered to continue to their destination.

We spoke to one passenger headed to Philadelphia who was using the in-flight Wi-Fi and found out in the air.

"I guess he had to do it, I don't know. Better safe than sorry," said Ed Dougherty of Downingtown, Pennsylvania.

But others had no idea.

"I think it's a little scary," said Marie Houghton of Phoenixville.

We spoke with aviation attorney and former Navy pilot, John Gagliano, who says while this may result in initial delays at airports, airlines have other planes they will use instead.

"All the airlines have planes that they can use in addition to the 737 Max 8s. And the good news is worldwide, and especially the US, aviation system is incredibly safe," said Gagliano.

Officials at PHL say Southwest Airlines will be the most affected airline here, as they typically use Max 8 planes to service some flights out of Philadelphia.

Southwest Airlines says it has removed 34 Max 8 planes from service, which makes up less than 5 percent of its daily flights nationwide.

American Airlines has taken 24 planes out of service but officials say none of them normally serve PHL.

Passengers here say they're glad to see precautions taken.

"Thankful to get here safely certainly. If it's precautionary I'm appreciative that they took those steps. I'd rather be safe than sorry. Certainly for everybody else too," said Bridgette Young of Glendale, California.

Officials don't know exactly how long these flights will be grounded.

Airport officials stress - if you're flying and you think your flight will be affected, contact your airline for information--not the airport.
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