Monday 14 October 2019

Boeing 737: Countries temporarily ground jets following second fatal crash

A number of countries have temporarily prevented the Max 8 planes from entering their airspace.

A worker stands near a Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplane parked at Boeing Co.’s Renton Assembly Plant (Ted S Warren/AP)
A worker stands near a Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplane parked at Boeing Co.’s Renton Assembly Plant (Ted S Warren/AP)

By Ryan Wilkinson, Press Association

Ten countries have now temporarily prevented Boeing Max 8 planes from entering their airspace amid growing international concern over the aircraft.

Flight ET302 crashed shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa on Sunday morning, killing all 157 people on board.

It was the second deadly incident involving the new model of Boeing passenger jet in less than five months, prompting concern over its safety.

Australia's civil aviation safety authority suspended Boeing Co 737 MAX aircraft from flying to or from Australia this morning.

"This is a temporary suspension while we wait for more information to review the safety risks of continued operations of the Boeing 737 MAX to and from Australia," Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority CEO Shane Carmody said in a statement.

During the past two days, Ethiopia, Singapore, Indonesia, China, Mexico, South Korea, India, Caymen Islands, Brazil have grounded their Boeing 737 Max fleets.

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) said that it is liaising "very closely" with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) "as the facts of this incident are established" and will notify the public if the position changes.

"Additionally, we await further information from the accident investigation team and the manufacturer Boeing on the circumstances of this accident," a spokesperson said yesterday.

There are 13 Boeing 737 Max aircraft on the Irish aircraft register. 

SilkAir has temporarily grounded its Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft (Wong Maye-E/AP)

157 people were killed when the jet crashed shortly after take-off on Sunday morning, including Michael Ryan, an Irish father-of-two based in Rome with the UN’s World Food Programme, which distributes rations to people in need.

As many as 19 UN workers were feared to have been killed in the crash, the number being so high because of its environmental forum which started on Monday.

In the US the Federal Aviation Administration said the Boeing’s 737 Max 8 were safe to operate, although it had a team on the ground in Ethiopia to assist with the investigation and was continuously assessing the safety performance of the aircraft.

This process is validated for European Union countries by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

Framed photographs of seven crew members are displayed at a memorial service (Samuel Habtab/AP)

The UK Civil Aviation Authority said it was “liaising very closely” with EASA.

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary, whose airline is expecting to take delivery of several new 737 Max jets from Boeing in the coming months, said it would wait and see what the outcome of the investigation would be.

"Our first delivery is at the end of April. Like all other airlines around the world we will follow whatever guidance comes out from Boeing and EASA on the European side," he told The Irish Independent. yesterday.

Ryanair has 135 of the planes on order, but none in service.

Several other airlines serving UK airports are continuing to fly the aircraft model involved in the deadly crash, despite it being grounded in several countries including China, Indonesia and Ethiopia.

We have no indication that we can't operate our 737 Max in a safe way like we do with all other planes in our network Spokesman for Tui

Tui Airways has the only five 737 Max 8 aircraft operated by a UK-based airline, and is due to begin flying a sixth later this week.

Asked if the airline would take any action in response to the crash, a spokesman for parent company Tui said: “We have no indication that we can’t operate our 737 Max in a safe way like we do with all other planes in our network.”

Scandinavian airline Norwegian, which serves London Gatwick, Manchester and Edinburgh in the UK, has 18 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.

Boeing 737 MAX 8 factfile (PA Graphics)

A number of airlines have grounded their fleet of the aircraft model, including Royal Air Maroc, Cayman Airways, Mongolian Airlines and Comair, which is a British Airways franchise in southern Africa.

The Ethiopian Airlines jet crashed six minutes after taking off from the capital Addis Ababa.

Both the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder were recovered from the wreckage.

While the cause is not yet known, the crash shared similarities with last year’s Lion Air jet crash in the Java Sea, which killed 189. That also involved a 737 Max 8 crashing minutes after take-off.

Ethiopian Airlines chief executive Tewolde Gebremariam said the pilot had sent out a distress call and was given the all-clear to return to the airport.

Senior captain Yared Getachew had a “commendable performance” having completed more than 8,000 hours in the air, the airline said.

Chicago-based Boeing is facing pressure to guarantee the safety of its 737 Max 8 aircraft.

The firm’s chief executive Dennis Muilenburg said it was providing “technical assistance” to the Ethiopian government and regulatory authorities in their investigation.

The passengers killed in Sunday’s crash came from 35 nations, including 32 from Kenya and 18 from Canada.

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