Britain Latest to Ground Boeing 737 Max 8 Jets, while U.S. FAA Says They Remain Airworthy

By Anna Breuer on 12 March 2019
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IMG_7743The United Kingdom became the latest to ban all Boeing 737 Max aircraft from its airspace early Tuesday, two days after the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 en route from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to Nairobi, Kenya.

China on Monday was the first country with a large number of operators of the Max to halt its operation, a move that was followed by Singapore, Australia, and Malaysia.

Britain’s move affects Norwegian Air Shuttle, which operates the 737 Max 8 on some of its transatlantic flights to the United States from England.

This week’s crash was the second air disaster in five months for the relatively new aircraft, which has become Boeing’s fastest selling model with nearly 4,700 orders.

Meanwhile, as the search for answers continued, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration issued a statement saying that 737 Max aircraft continue to be airworthy, and major operators of the aircraft including American Airlines, the world’s largest airline, Air Canada, and Southwest Airlines, continued to operate the aircraft.

The FAA last grounded a fleet of aircraft due to a technical problem in 2013, when a battery problem in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner was discovered.

Several additional airlines including Aeromexico, Aerolíneas Argentinas, and Royal Air Maroc, took their 737 Max planes out of service on Monday, bringing the total number of airlines doing so to 25.

Since the October Lion Air crash, Boeing has been working on changes to the Max’ flight control systems. On Monday, it said it is planning to roll out what it termed “a flight control software enhancement” for the type, which, it said, would “make an already safe aircraft even safer.” Boeing is also working on new training materials and manuals for the aircraft that put greater emphasis on the Max’ high-tech flight control technologies.

While the number of groundings has increased dramatically, they have caused little disruption to air travel given that the global Boeing 737 Max fleet comprises a tiny percentage of the thousands of jetliners that operate every day.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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