Distress at Piarco airport in Trinidad over grounding of American Airlines aircraft

By Kim Boodram

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An American Airlines aircraft at the Piarco International Airport.

(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) — The United States government’s decision Wednesday to ground all Boeing 737 Max jets until further notice has caused distress locally.

Students, those with sick rela­tives and business people have now been put to scramble for passage out of Trinidad and Tobago.

At least one American Airlines 737 Max jet is now parked at Piarco International Airport, having arrived on Tuesday but unable to leave the country on Wednesday following orders from US President Donald Trump.

Trump said his administration was ordering the jets grounded until more information was gathered about ­Sunday’s deadly crash of an Ethiopian ­aircraft, which claimed the lives of 157 people.

His announcement was a turnabout from the administration’s earlier position, which deemed the planes safe to fly, even as dozens of other nations banned them following two fatal disasters.

Trump said the decision to ground the Max 8 and Max 9 was made in light of new information about the latest crash.

The Federal Aviation Administration said new evidence had been collected at the site of the crash Wednesday and that information, along with new satellite data, led to the grounding decision.

The decision left scores ­stranded in T&T, according to one passenger who did not wish to be named but who was at Piarco up to late ­Wednesday evening, seeking ­alternative transport for his student daughter.

The man said as far as he was aware, passengers who were booked on a 3.30 p.m. AA flight out of Piarco Wednesday have been told, simply, to contact the airline.

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