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Tampa International Airport: Three flights canceled by FAA order to ground Boeing's 737 MAX planes

Tampa International Airport. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
Published Mar. 14

TAMPA — Tampa International Airport says three flights were canceled Wednesday after the U.S. government's decision to halt operation of all of Boeing's 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 planes.

The Federal Aviation Administration said on Wednesday it decided to ground the model "as a result of the data gathering process and new evidence collected" at the site of the Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people on Sunday.

"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 in a statement.

Southwest Airlines and American Airlines both operate fleets of the affected planes, some of which fly in and out of Tampa International. The airport says from six to 10 of the Max 8 planes fly from Tampa each day. Most are piloted by Southwest.

Overall, less than 5 percent of the airport's daily operations and less than 2 percent of total operations during the month of March are affected by the Aviation Administration's decision.

One flight scheduled on a MAX 8 from Tampa to Miami through American Airlines was canceled by 4 p.m., according to flight tracking website FlightAware.com. The website also showed a MAX 8 with Canadian airline WestJet taking off for Toronto before 3:30 p.m.

In a message to travelers on Twitter, Tampa airport officials told passengers to check with their airlines for flight status.

Southwest has more than 750 Boeing 737s and 34 of the newer Max 8 aircraft. The emergency order will ground 24 of American Airlines' planes. Both airlines said they would immediately comply with the FAA order.

Prior to the agency's announcement, President Donald Trump said planes in the air would go to their destinations and then be grounded until further notice.

Dozens of countries had grounded the planes following Sunday's crash, which was less that five months after another deadly crash in Indonesia involving the same type of plane.

Contact Sara DiNatale at sdinatale@tampabay.com. Follow @sara_dinatale.

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