China and Indonesia halt Boeing 737 MAX 8 after Ethiopia crash

The Straits Times
Two short, erratic flights end in tragedy: Could Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air crashes be linked?
The Straits TimesTwo short, erratic flights end in tragedy: Could Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air crashes be linked?

Two short, erratic flights end in tragedy: Could Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air crashes be linked? – AIWA! NO!

ADDIS ABABA/BEIJING (Reuters) – China, Indonesia and Ethiopia grounded their Boeing Co 737 MAX 8 fleets on Monday while investigators found the black box from a crash that killed 157 people in the second disaster involving that airplane model in six months.

The Ethiopian Airlines jet bound for Nairobi came down minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa on Sunday, killing all on board. The victims came from 33 nations and included 22 United Nations’ staff.

RELATED COVERAGE

The discovery of the black box with both the cockpit voice recorder and digital flight data, reported by Ethiopian state TV, should shed light on the cause of the crash.

At the scene, men in Red Cross jackets picked through the dirt, putting items in black paper bags, while investigators hunted for the black box voice recorders.

“Although we don’t yet know the cause of the crash, we had to decide to ground the particular fleet as extra safety precaution,” Ethiopian Airlines said. It has four other 737 MAX 8 jets, according to flight tracking website FlightRadar24.

The 737 line is the world’s best selling modern passenger aircraft and viewed as one of the industry’s most reliable.Airplane engine parts are seen at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

CHINA’S ‘ZERO TOLERANCE’

China on Monday also ordered its airlines to suspend operations of their 737 MAX 8 jets by 6 p.m. (1000 GMT) following the second crash of a Boeing 737 MAX jet since one run by Indonesia’s Lion Air went down in October.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said it would notify airlines when they could resume flying the jets, after contacting Boeing and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

“Given that two accidents both involved newly delivered Boeing 737-8 planes and happened during take-off phase, they have some degree of similarity,” the CAAC said, adding the step was in line with its principle of zero tolerance of safety hazards. The 737 MAX 8 is sometimes referred to as the 737-8.

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