Air crash: Aviation agencies ground Boeing 737 MAX planes

The European Union’s aviation safety agency has suspended all flights on Boeing 737 MAX planes in the bloc following the Ethiopian Airlines accident, the authority said in a statement.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has banned all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft from United Kingdom airspace.

The CAA has issued instructions to stop any commercial passenger flights from any operator arriving, departing or flying over the UK.

France, Germany, and Italy have also grounded the Boeing 737 MAX.

These decisions come after this same model was involved in its second deadly crash over the last half year, causing concerns for the world’s biggest planemaker.

On Sunday (10 March), Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people on board en route to Nairobi, Kenya. This crash comes only five months after the same model Lion Air jet crashed in Indonesia, killing 189.

Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Oman, China, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Morocco, Mongolia, Ireland Netherlands, Norway and Austria have joined the growing list of nations suspending Boeing 737 MAX flights from their airspace.

However, the response from specific airlines has been inconsistent.

The Irish low-cost airline Ryanair is not planning to make any changes to the delivery of its first Boeing 737 MAX aeroplane next month, the chief executive Michael O’Leary was quoted as saying on Monday.

Meanwhile, Norwegian Airlines said via a press release, that it will not operate any flights with this aircraft type until further notice.

“In response to the temporary suspension of Boeing 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,” said Norwegian’s acting Chief Operating Officer Tomas Hesthammer.

In the US, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants sent a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) advising the agency that both crew and passengers “are expressing concerns about the 737 MAX 8.”

Boeing has responded by reiterating that safety is the company’s number one priority and they have full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX.

The Chicago-based aircraft manufacturer has confirmed that a technical team will be travel to the Ethiopian crash site to provide technical assistance under the direction of the Ethiopia Accident Investigation Bureau and U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.

According to Boeing, the 737 MAX is the fastest-selling aeroplane in the aviation giant’s history. The aircraft has accumulated nearly 4,700 orders from more than 100 customers worldwide. However, Boeing shares continue to slide dramatically as the world waits for data from the black box of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.

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