Countries and carriers around globe ground Boeing 737 Max
|Toronto Star 13 Mar 2019 at 04:40|
SINGAPORE - A growing number of airlines and countries around the world have grounded Boeing 737 Max jets or banned them from their airspace following the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane that killed 157 people on Sunday, five months after a similar Indonesian Lion Air jet plunged into the ocean, killing 189. A look at those countries and airlines:
In this photo taken Monday, March 11, 2019, three Shanghai Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 passenger planes are parked at the Hongqiao Airport in Shanghai, China. U.S. (tion experts on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 joined the investigation into the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jetliner that killed 157 people, as a growing number of airlines grounded the new Boeing plane involved in the crash. (Chinatopix via AP / A)
Australia has announced a temporary ban on flights by 737 Max aircraft, although none of its airlines currently operate them. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority said Tuesday that the ban will affect two foreign airlines — SilkAir and Fiji Airways — that use them for flights to Australia. The authority said Singapore’s SilkAir has already grounded its 737 Max jets, and that it is working with regulators there and in Fiji to minimize disruptions. It said that Fiji Airways has two 737 Max 8 jets in its fleet. Fiji Airways and Fiji’s Civil Aviation Authority said they would ground the fleet until more information is known about the cause of the Ethiopian Airlines accident.
Brazil’s Gol Airlines has suspended the use of seven Max 8 jets. The airline said it is following the investigation closely and hopes to return the aircraft to use as soon as possible. Gol said it has made nearly 3,000 flights with the Max 8, which went into service last June, with “total security and efficiency.”
Canadian charter airline Sunwing has suspended use of its four 737 Max 8 planes. Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau said he has no plans to ground Canada’s fleet of 737 Max aircraft, but that “all options are on the table.”
Cayman Airways, a Caribbean carrier, has stopped using its two Max 8 jets. President and CEO Fabian Whorms said the move starting Monday will cause changes to flight schedules. Cayman is the flag carrier of Cayman Islands, a British overseas territory.
China has 96 Max 8 jets in service, belonging to carriers such as Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines. The civil aviation authority directed the planes to be grounded indefinitely on Monday. It said the order was “taken in line with the management principle of zero tolerance for security risks.” There were eight Chinese citizens on the Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed shortly after taking off on Sunday. The authority said it will consult the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing before deciding when to lift the ban.
A spokesman for Ethiopian Airlines said it grounded its remaining four Max 8 jets as an “extra safety precaution” while it investigates Sunday’s deadly crash. The airline is awaiting the delivery of 25 more Max 8 jets.
The European Aviation Safety Agency has issued a directive grounding all 737 Max 8 and Max 9 aircraft. EASA said in its emergency airworthiness directive Tuesday that “at this early stage” of the most recent investigation, “it cannot be excluded that similar causes may have contributed to both events.” It said “based on all available information, EASA considers that further actions may be necessary to ensure the continued airworthiness of the two affected models.” It said companies may make one noncommercial flight to return their planes to a location where they can be inspected. The grounding applies to all European Union airspace.
Fiji has suspended all Max 8 flights in and out of the country. The decision only affects one operator, Fiji Airways.
Hong Kong has banned the operation of all 737 Max aircraft “into, out of and over” the key Asian aviation hub beginning Wednesday evening. The announcement from the Civil Aviation Department said the ban would continue “until further notice.” It said the department has been in close contact with the FAA and other the relevant organizations, including the two airlines, SpiceJet of India and Russia’s Globus Airlines, that use the aircraft to operate flights into and out of Hong Kong International Airport.
Icelandair Group has temporarily suspended operations of its three 737 Max aircraft until further notice. President and CEO Bogi Nels Bogason said Tuesday that the company will follow developments closely and work with local, European and U.S. authorities on any steps that need to be taken. He said the temporary suspension won’t impact the company’s operations, as it only affects three aircraft out of a fleet of 33.
India has grounded all 737 Max 8 planes. A statement late Tuesday said the planes “will be grounded till appropriate modifications and safety measures are undertaken to ensure their safe operations.” The statement did not say how many planes were affected.
Indonesia has temporarily grounded Max 8 jets to inspect their airworthiness. Director General of Air Transportation Polana B. Pramesti said the move was made to ensure flight safety. A Lion Air model of the same plane crashed in Indonesia in October. Indonesian airlines operate 11 Max 8 jets. Lion Air, which owns 10 of them, said it will try to minimize the impact of the decision on operations. The other Max 8 jet belongs to national carrier Garuda.
New Zealand has suspended Max 8 flights in and out of the country. The decision only affects one operator, Fiji Airways. No New Zealand airlines use the Max 8 planes.
The Civil Aviation Authority said no Malaysian carriers operate the Max 8, but that foreign airlines are banned from flying the plane in Malaysia, and from transiting in the country, until further notice.
Mexican airline Aeromexico has suspended flights of its six Max 8 jets. Aeromexico said it “fully” trusts the safety of its fleet but ordered the grounding to ensure “the safety of its operations and the peace of mind of its customers.” It said other planes will take over the routes usually flown by the Max 8.
Oman and the United Arab Emirates have barred flights by Max 8 and Max 9 aircraft. Oman’s Public Authority for Civil Aviation made the sultanate’s announcement, without elaborating on its reasoning. State-owned Oman Air operates five Max 8 aircraft and said it was rescheduling other planes for its flights.
Singapore has temporarily banned Max 8 jets — and other models in the Max range — from entering and leaving the country. The civil aviation authority said it was “closely monitoring the situation” and the ban will be “reviewed as relevant safety information becomes available.” SilkAir, a regional carrier owned by Singapore Airlines, has six Max 8 jets. It said the ban “will have an impact on some of the airline’s flight schedules.”
Comair, the operator of British Airways and Kulula flights in South Africa, has grounded its Max 8 while it consults with Boeing, other operators and technical experts. Its statement did not say how many planes were affected. It said the decision was made without intervention from regulatory authorities.
South Korean airline Eastar Jet has suspended operations of its two Max 8 planes and replaced them with Boeing 737-800 planes starting Wednesday on routes to Japan and Thailand. The airline said it hasn’t found any problems, but is voluntarily grounding the planes in response to customer concerns.
Turkish Airlines has suspended all Max flights. In a statement Tuesday on Twitter, CEO Bilal Eksi said the suspension would continue until the “uncertainty affecting safety is cleared.”
The UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority has banned the aircraft from its airspace in what is said was “a precautionary measure.” The Max is the workhorse of the Dubai government-owned budget carrier FlyDubai. It operates 11 Max 8 and 2 Max 9 jets. Its total fleet is around 60 aircraft, including other models of the 737.
Vietnam has banned Max planes from flying into its airspace. The director of Vietnam’s civil aviation authority said Wednesday that airlines flying those models of planes will have to change the aircraft for safety purposes. The ban lasts until further notice. None of Vietnam’s four airlines uses the Max model planes in their fleets, but Korea’s Eastar Jet, Thai Lion Air and Malaysia’s Malindor Air fly those planes to Vietnamese destinations.