Several countries ground Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane

A number of countries have grounded Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 medium-haul workhorse jet in response to the 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 — and some officials have detected similarities between the two accidents.

There are some 350 of the 737 MAX 8 planes currently in service around the world. 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, which has sent experts to assist in the Ethiopia probe, says safety is its number one priority.

Countries that have grounded 737 MAX 8s – Singapore’s aviation regulator on Tuesday completely

banned the use of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in the country’s airspace.

Beijing on 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.

Indonesia said it was grounding its 11 jets of the 737 MAX 8 type.

Inspections of the aircraft would start on Tuesday and the planes would remain grounded until they were cleared by safety regulators, Director General of Air Transport Polana Pramesti told reporters.

South Korea’s transport ministry said on Tuesday it had advised Eastar Jet, the nation’s only airline to operate Boeing 737 MAX 8s, to ground its two planes. The budget airline had agreed to suspend its use of the aircraft starting Wednesday, it added.

The Mongolian Civil Aviation Authority said on Facebook it had ordered the state carrier MIAT Mongolian Airlines to ground the sole Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft in its fleet.

Britain’s aviation regulator on Tuesday banned boeing 737 MAX aircraft from the country’s airspace following a deadly plane crash in Ethiopia, mirroring a decision taken by other nations.

Australia on Tuesday barred Boeing 737 MAX planes from its airspace. Fiji Airways is the only 737 MAX operator affected by the Australian ban, according to Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority, as Singapore-based SilkAir’s planes were already covered by a ban imposed by the city-state.

Ethiopian Airlines said on Monday it had grounded its Boeing 737 MAX 8 fleet until further notice.

South African airline Comair said it had decided to remove its 737 MAX from its flight schedule.

Cayman Airways CEO Fabian Whorms said it would suspend flights for its two 737 MAX 8 planes until more information is received.

Brazil’s Gol Airlines said it was temporarily suspending its commercial operations with the plane.

Mexico’s Aeromexico, which has six 737 MAX 8s in its fleet, announced that it was grounding the aircraft.

Argentina’s flagship carrier Aerolineas Argentinas said late on Monday that it had suspended the operation of its five 737 MAX 8s pending the result of investigations into the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines plane. Earlier its pilots had refused to fly the jet.

Countries still flying jets

US’ 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 aircraft.

A person with knowledge of the matter told AFP that American Airlines planned to continue operating its two dozen 737 MAX 8s.

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.

The CEO of Turkish Airlines, which flies 11 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, said in a tweet that the carrier would fly the planes as scheduled, adding that the airline was in touch with Boeing and that passenger security was paramount.

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.

Iceland’s Icelandair operates three Boeing 737 MAX 8. Its operations chief told Frettabladid newspaper it would be premature to link the crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia together.

Norway’s Norwegian Air Shuttle, which operates 18 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, said it would keep them in the air.

Dubai’s Flydubai said it was monitoring the situation and it was confident in the airworthiness of our fleet.

Oman’s Oman Air said it was in contact with Boeing to understand if there are any implications for other airlines operating the same model.

India’s aviation regulator said on Monday that it had imposed additional interim safety requirements

for ground engineers and crew for the aircraft, but stopped short of ordering their grounding.

Source: Civil Aviation Authority