Boeing faces safety questions over 737 MAX 8
Boeing’s bestselling passenger jet is facing increased scrutiny after being involved in a second deadly crash in less than six months, threatening to tarnish the US plane maker’s reputation for safety.
The Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed Sunday and the Lion Air flight that crashed in October were brand-new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. And both crashed minutes into flight.
“A formal investigation will need to be conducted into this new crash. It’s important not to speculate as to its causes. A final, conclusive report has yet to be issued in the case of the Lion crash,” said Greg Waldron, Asia managing editor at aviation research firm FlightGlobal.
“That said, having two crashes of a brand new type in a short time is an unprecedented state of events,” he added. “It is inevitable that this will affect perceptions about the 737 MAX family.”
In addition to Ethiopian Airlines’ decision to suspend its MAX 8 fleet from flying service, and China’s civil aviation authority’s blanket ban on the model being used, Cayman Airways has announced that it would ground its MAX 8 jets.
The airline is working with both Boeing and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands (CAACI) to “monitor the investigation” unfolding in Ethiopia, the Caribbean island-based airline’s President and CEO Fabian Whorms said in a statement.
“While the cause of this sad loss is undetermined at this time, we stand by our commitment to putting the safety of our passengers and crew first by maintaining complete and undoubtable safe operations, and as such, we have taken the decision to suspend operations of both our new Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, effective from Monday March 11, 2019, until more information is received,” Whorms said.