Paris: A number of countries have grounded Boeing’s 737 MAX medium-haul workhorse jet in response to an Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed all 157 people on board.
The Nairobi-bound plane was the same type as the Indonesian Lion Air jet that crashed in October, killing 189 passengers and crew — with some detecting similarities between the two accidents.
There are some 350 of the 737 MAX 8 planes currently in-service around the world and while some countries and airlines have opted to ground the planes, others are continuing to fly the aircraft pending an investigation into the crash and possible guidance from Boeing itself.
Boeing has sent experts to assist in the Ethiopia probe and said safety was its “number one priority.”
India’s aviation regulator Monday said that it has imposed additional “interim” safety requirements for ground engineers and crew for the aircraft but stopped short of ordering their grounding.
Singapore’s aviation regulator Tuesday completely banned the use of Boeing 737 MAX aircrafts in the country’s airspace.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said it was “temporarily suspending operation of all variants of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft into and out of Singapore” in light of the two recent accidents.
Beijing Monday ordered domestic airlines to suspend operation of the Boeing 737 MAX 8, citing the two crashes. Noting “similarities” between the two incidents, China’s Civil Aviation Administration said operation of the model would only resume after “confirming the relevant measures to effectively ensure flight safety”. China is a hugely important market for the US aircraft company, accounting for about one-fifth of worldwide deliveries of Boeing 737 MAX models.
The US Federal Aviation Administration said it would take “immediate” action if there were safety concerns. Southwest Airlines, which operates 34 of the 737 MAX 8 planes, said, “We remain confident in the safety and airworthiness of our fleet of more than 750 Boeing aircrafts.”
In South America too Brazil’s Gol Airlines said it was temporarily suspending its commercial operations with the plane. Argentina’s flagship carrier late Monday said that it had suspended the operation of its five 737 MAX 8s. In the Gulf, Airline flydubai said it was “monitoring the situation” and that it was “confident in the airworthiness of the fleet”. Russian airline S7 said it was closely following the crash investigation and was in contact with Boeing, but had received no instructions to stop flying the 737 MAX 8. Air Italy said it would follow all directives “to ensure the maximum level of safety and security”. In the meantime, the planes remained in the air. Icelandair operations chief told it would be “premature” to link the crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia together. Norwegian Air Shuttle said it would keep them in the air. Australia Tuesday barred Boeing 737 MAX planes from its airspace.