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Air India

 

More nations suspend Boeing 737 MAX after a crash in Ethiopia

 

 

Britain joined a growing wave of suspensions of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft around the world yesterday, escalating the global alarm after a crash in Ethiopia that killed 157 people in the second such disaster for the model in the past few months. The decision by one of the industry’s most established regulators was the most serious setback yet for Boeing in the wake of Sunday’s crash and put pressure on regulators in the rest of Europe and the United States to follow suit.

At the same time as London’s announcement, Norwegian Air said it too would temporarily ground its MAX 8 passenger jets on the advice of European regulators. Earlier, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia and Oman had also temporarily suspended the aircraft, following China, Indonesia and others the day before.

Given problems of identification at the charred disaster site, Ethiopian Airlines said it would take at least five days to start handing remains to families. The victims came from more than 30 different nations, and included nearly two dozen UN staff.

Ethiopian Airlines has grounded its four other 737 MAX 8 jets as a precaution. Anxiety was also evident among some travelers, who rushed to find out from social media and travel agents whether they were booked to fly on 737 MAX planes – the same model in the Lion Air crash off Indonesia that killed 189 people in October. If the black box recordings found at the Ethiopian crash site are undamaged, the cause of the crash could be identified quickly, although it typically takes a year for a full probe.

Nearly 40 percent of the in-service fleet of 371 Boeing 737 MAX jets globally is grounded, according to industry publication Flightglobal. That includes 97 jets in biggest market China.

In Asia, South Korean budget carrier Eastar Jet said it would temporarily ground its two 737 MAX 8s from Wednesday, while India ordered additional checks. Vietnam state media reported the aviation regulator would not issue licenses to local airlines to operate the 737 MAX until the cause of the Ethiopian crash was known. Still, major airlines from North America to the Middle East kept flying the 737 MAX. Southwest Airlines Co, which operates the largest fleet of 737 MAX 8s, said it remained confident in the safety of all its Boeing planes.

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