The nations, airlines grounding Boeing 737 MAX aircraft

14-Mar-2019 Intellasia | AFP | 6:00 AM Print This Post

A number of countries have grounded Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 medium-haul workhorse jet in response to an Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday (March 10) 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 crewwith some detecting similarities between the two accidents.

There are about 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.

Here’s a list of the countries and airlines that have grounded the Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes.


Singapore’s aviation regulator said on Tuesday it is temporarily suspending the operation of all variants of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft into and out of Singapore. The suspension will take effect from 2pm on Tuesday, it said.

SilkAir, the regional arm of Singapore Airlines, operates six Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft and will be affected by the temporary suspension. The airline had said on Monday that its 737 MAX 8 planes are operating as scheduled, as it is closely monitoring developments following the Ethiopian Airlines crash.


Beijing on Monday ordered domestic airlines to suspend commercial operation of the Boeing 737 MAX 8, citing the Ethiopian Airlines accident and last year’s crash of the same model in Indonesia.

Noting “similarities” between the two accidents, 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 Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) said that none of the Malaysian carriers operate the Boeing 737 MAX 8.

The CAAM is suspending operations of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft flying to or from Malaysia and transiting in Malaysia until further notice.


Indonesia, where a Boeing plane of the same model crashed in October, 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.

Ten of Indonesia’s Max 8 jets are operated by Lion Air while the other is flown by national carrier Garuda.

Lion Air said it was postponing taking delivery of four new Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets. The jets had been on order for delivery this year, but the company is now re-evaluating the situation.


South Korea’s transport ministry said that the two Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes operated by the country’s budget airline Eastar Jet would be grounded pending an inspection.


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.


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

“Following the tragic accident of ET 302… Ethiopian Airlines has decided to ground all B-737-8 MAX fleet… until further notice,” the state-owned carrier said.

“Although we don’t yet know the cause of the accident, we have to decide to ground the particular fleet as an extra safety precaution,” said the airline, Africa’s largest.


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

Cayman Airways:

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


Brazilian airline Gol announced in a statement on Monday it was temporarily suspending commercial operations for its seven Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft.

Gol said the model’s flight record had so far shown 2,933 journeys since its introduction in June 2018 “with total security and efficiency”.

It also stated its “confidence in its operations and in Boeing” and was doing everything possible to allow it to resume the grounded flights as soon as possible.


Mexican airline Aeromexico said it had suspended the operation of its six Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes until it had clear information about the investigation into Sunday’s crash of the Ethiopian Airlines jet.

“Flights operated with these planes will be covered by the rest of the fleet,” Aeromexico said in a statement.

Here’s a list of countries still flying the Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets:


Boeing, which has sent experts to assist in the Ethiopia probe, said safety is its “number one priority”.

“The investigation is in its early stages, but at this point, based on the information available, we do not have any basis to issue new guidance to operators,” the US manufacturer said in a statement.

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 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 the airline is 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.


Icelandair operates three Boeing 737 MAX 8. Its operations chief Jens Thordarson told Frettabladid newspaper it would be “premature” to link the crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia together.

For now, “nothing pushes us towards the slightest action”, he said.

This could change depending on the outcome of an ongoing probe but “for now, there is no reason to fear these machines”.

However, later on Tuesday, the airline said it would “temporarily suspend” operations of the three planes, though it continued to express confidence in the safety of the aircraft.


Low-cost airline Norwegian Air Shuttle said on Tuesday it would suspend flights of its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft until further notice.

Norwegian, which operates 18 such planes, will keep them grounded pending advice from aviation authorities, operations chief Tomas Hesthammer told AFP.

“In response to the temporary suspension of Being 737 MAX operations by multiple aviation authorities we have taken the decision to not operate flights using this aircraft type, until advised otherwise by the relevant aviation authorities,” he said.

Norwegian also operates more than 110 Boeing 737-800 aircraft in its fleet which are not affected by the temporary suspension, the company said.


Airline flydubai said it was “monitoring the situation” and that it was “confident in the airworthiness of our fleet”.


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

The airline has six Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes with another 31 on firm order.


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

“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 (CASA) CEO Shane Carmody said in a statement.

Fiji Airlines is the only 737 MAX operator affected by the Australian ban, according to CASA. SilkAir has already been covered by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore’s temporary suspension.


Aerolineas Argentinas said late Monday it had ordered the suspension as it awaited the result of investigations into the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines plane.

“For Aerolineas Argentinas, safety is the most important value,” the company said in a statement on the grounding of its five 737 Max 8 planes, out of a total fleet of 82.


Britain on Tuesday joined the growing number of nations to suspend flights by Boeing 737 MAX aircraft over their territory.

“The UK Civil Aviation Authority has been closely monitoring the situation, however, as we do not currently have sufficient information from the flight data recorder we have, as a precautionary measure, issued instructions to stop any commercial passenger flights from any operator arriving, departing or overflying UK airspace,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

“The UK Civil Aviation Authority’s safety directive will be in place until further notice.”


On Tuesday, German Transport minister Andreas Scheuer told national broadcaster n-tv that the German airspace was closed to Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes.

“Safety comes first. Until all doubts have been cleared up, I have ordered that German airspace be closed to all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft with immediate effect,” he said.


France’s DGAC civil aviation authority said on Tuesday it was banning Boeing 737 MAX aircraft from French airspace.

“Given the circumstances of the accident in Ethiopia, the French authorities have taken the decision, as a precautionary measure, to ban all commercial flights of Boeing 737 MAXs into, out of, or over French territory,” it said.


The Irish Aviation Authority temporarily suspended the operation of all variants of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in Irish airspace with immediate effect on Tuesday.

“The IAA’s decision has been made taking account of the unprecedented loss of two Boeing 737 MAX in recent months,” it said in a statement.

“As we do not currently have sufficient information from the (Ethiopian) flight data recorder we have, as a precautionary measure, issued instructions to stop any commercial passenger flights on Boeing 737 MAX from any operator arriving, departing or overflying Irish airspace.”


National carrier Turkish Airlines said Tuesday it was suspending flights using its fleet of 12 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

“Until the uncertainty surrounding the safety of the 737 MAX is clarified, we are withdrawing these planes from commercial flights from March 13,” airline CEO Bilal Eksi said on Twitter.


Austria’s transport minister Norbert Hofer said in a statement on Tuesday that the country would ground the 737 MAX aircraft as well.

“Safety is the top priority in aviation,” he said, adding that the measure was aimed at protecting passengers, pilots and crew members.


The Dutch government has ordered its airspace closed for the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, press agency ANP reported, citing the country’s transportation minister.


Category: Singapore

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