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Malaysia, Australia, Singapore ground 737 MAX 8s as pressure on Boeing intensifies

March 13, 2019

* Passengers’ revolt against death jet: Pressure mounts on Boeing as more airlines and countries ground Max 737 8 fleets after Ethiopian disaster
* Pilots complained about Boeing 737 Max 8 for months before second deadly crash

Malaysia has joined many of its neighbors in the Asia-Pacific region in grounding all Boeing 737 MAX 8s. The Malaysian Aviation Authority has issued a statement on the grounding, it said the planes would be banned from flying until further notice.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that Indonesia’s Lion Air, one of the biggest customers for the 737 Max, is refusing to take delivery of more planes and might even switch to Boeing rival Airbus as it remains bitter over the October crash that killed a plane full of people when a Boeing 737 MAX 8 plunged into the Java Sea.

Here’s an updated list of countries that have grounded the fourth-generation 737s compiled by the AP:

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Cayman Islands
  • China
  • Ethiopia
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Mexico
  • Singapore
  • South Korea

… and now Malaysia

* * *

Despite a reassuring (for some) statement from the FAA affirming that Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 planes remain “safe” for flight, more countries on Tuesday have opted to ground the planes, including Singapore and Australia, in a rare break with US air-travel regulators.

Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority said on Tuesday that it had suspended the operation of all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft flying to or from the country. Since no Australian airlines fly the aircraft (though its Virgin Air recently ordered dozens of new MAX 8s), the decision only impacts the Singaporean airlines SilkAir and Fiji Airlines, according to the FT.

“This is a temporary suspension while we wait for more information to review the safety risks of continued operations of the Boeing 737 MAX,” said CASA’ chief executive and director of aviation safety, Shane Carmody, in a statement to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Meanwhile, Virgin Australia has 40 MAX aircraft on order, and said it was “closely watching the situation”, and hinted that it could change its order depending on the outcome of the investigation.

“With our first aircraft delivery not due until November this year, we believe there is sufficient time to consider the outcome of the investigation and make an assessment,” a Virgin spokeswoman said.

So far, more than half of the airlines flying the 737 MAX 8 have grounded the planes. Yesterday, China, Ethiopia and Indonesia grounded said they would wait for more details of Sunday’s crash to emerge, while a few Latin American countries followed suit. The plane only entered service in 2017, have grounded the aircraft, according to the New York Times.

Though Southwest Airlines and American Airlines have continued to use the aircraft, following the FAA’s advice, they said they would be keeping an eye on events.

The planes are typically used for international flights, or covering long distances domestically:

Boeing has delivered 350 of the aircraft since it entered service, and has a backlog of more than 5,000 orders.

Boeing shares closed off the lows on Monday, but appeared to be headed lower once again in pre-market trading.

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From → World Watch

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