A number of nations have joined China in ordering domestic airlines to ground all Boeing 737 MAX 8 after the aircraft was involved in two fatal crashes within a period of six months.
China’s Civil Aviation Administration advised the country’s domestic carriers to cease operating the Boeing 737 MAX 8 at 6.00pm last night, a move which was quickly replicated by leaders in Indonesia, the Caymans and Ethiopia.
The Chinese Administration cited the aircraft’s involvement in two deadly crashes for its decision, including the Ethiopia Airlines tragedy that saw 157 people killed over the weekend, as well as the Lion Air flight that crashed into the Java Sea in October last year.
In a statement, China’s leader said the safety measure of grounding all Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft would remain in place until the plane manufacturer can confirm “the relevant measures to effectively ensure flight safety”, Al Jazeera reported.
“Given that two accidents both involved newly delivered Boeing 737-8 planes and happened during take-off phase, they have some degree of similarity.”
China Civil Aviation Administration
Shortly after China’s decision, an Ethiopian Airlines spokesperson said that although the cause of the accident is still yet to determined, the airline would ground its remaining four 737 MAX 8s until further notice as “an extra safety precaution”.
Cayman Airways followed suit, along with Indonesia’s Ministry that advised its domestic carriers to do the same.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s leader advised that they are conducting emergency safety inspections, while India is waiting to speak to Boeing about its use of the aircraft.
Australia’s Virgin Australia has yet to comment on whether it will standy by its order for 30 Boeing 737 MAX 8s, some of which are scheduled for delivery later this year.
Boeing responded to the weekend’s crash, saying that it had deployed a technical team to provide assistance under the direction of the Ethiopia Accident Investigation Bureau and the US National Transport Safety Board.
The manufacturer extended its heartfelt sympathies to the victims’ families and friends.
“Boeing is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the passengers and crew on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a 737 MAX 8 airplane.”
- READ: No survivors among Ethiopian Airlines’ 157 passengers & crew
- READ: Aussie leaders told not to fly with Lion Air
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