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The mayor of Broward County wants to prevent the troubled 737 Max aircraft from operating at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport as Boeing tries to get the plane back in the sky.
189 passengers and crew members died when Lion Air 610 crashed a year ago. 157 died when an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max crashed earlier this year, and a short time later the FAA grounded the airplane.
“Based on the two crashes of the 737 Max 8, Boeing needs to assure the public’s that the safety features are in place,” Mayor Mark Bogen told NBC 6.
Bogen said he intends to contact Boeing to tell them that their updates to the plane must include a list of repairs, including a way for pilots to turn off the system that experts believe caused the two crashes.
“If they don’t, I am going to go to my commissioners. I am going to go to others mayors, as well, of other cities and seek to ban that plane from landing at Ft. Lauderdale Airport,” he said. “We will do whatever we can within our power to seek that plane from not landing at the airport here in Ft. Lauderdale.”
But according to Broward aviation attorney Jonathan Ewing, he doesn’t think Bogen has the legal authority to prevent the plane from coming here if the FAA gives the OK.
“I can see why a local municipality would be concerned with the safety of an area when an aircraft like the 737 Max has had some serious issues,” Ewing said.
He said the FAA would use what’s called preemption.
“Now this Federal preemption means that federal law controls over state and local municipalities. So, they can’t normally create rules that violate Federal law,” Ewing stated.
In a statement to NBC 6, the FAA said they are the ones who decide if the plane is safe and where it can fly.
“Under Federal law, the safety of aircraft, including their certification and operation is preempted by federal law,” the statement read. “If an airport restricts certain aircraft or operations when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has determined those to be safe, that action would violate federal law.”
“Boeing’s priority remains the safe return to service of the MAX and supporting our airline customers through this challenging time We are working closely with the FAA and other regulatory authorities as we work towards certification and safe return to commercial service,” Boeing said in a statement.
Bogen said he is willing to go to court. If a ban can’t be put into place, he wants to put up signs around the airport notifying passengers if they’re flying on a 737 Max.
NBC 6 contacted the major airlines who fly the 737 Max, who said safety is their No. 1 priority.