Boeing 737 MAX 8: Who is grounding controversial plane and who is not?
The list of the carriers that are grounding the controversial Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft and the countries that are banning it from their airspace is growing.
The United Kingdom became the latest to announce a ban on Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft from British airspace.
Ethiopian Airlines has grounded the remaining four Boeing 737 MAX planes in its fleet as an “extra safety precaution.” The air carrier still has orders for an additional 25 same-model jets placed with Boeing.
China’s Civil Aviation Administration has ordered all the country’s domestic airlines to stop flights using the airplane. The regulator cited “zero tolerance for safety hazards” as grounds for the decision. According to Chinese media reports, the country’s airlines are currently operating 97 of the planes in their fleets.
Indonesia joined the ban, having suspended the flights of all Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes operated by its airlines. The step will “ensure that aircraft operating in Indonesia are in an airworthy condition,” according to an official statement by the Directorate General of Air Transportation at the Ministry of Transportation.
Cayman Airways, which also flies the latest 737, said it was placing a temporary ban on flying the jets in the light of the latest accident.
Mongolia’s Civil Aviation Authority has followed suit, ordering the national air carrier MIAT to temporarily suspend its Boeing 737 MAX flights.
Royal Air Maroc announced it is suspending all commercial flights carried out by the aircraft.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore pledged to temporarily stop using “all variants of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft into and out of Singapore in light of two fatal accidents involving Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in less than five months.” The ban will affect the carriers that fly into the country, including China Southern Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Shandong Airlines and Thai Lion Air, as well as Singaporean domestic airline SilkAir, which had previously rejected the grounding measure.
On Tuesday, Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) temporary placed a ban on in and out flights carried by all Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets.
“This is a temporary suspension while we wait for more information to review the safety risks of continued operations of the Boeing 737 MAX to and from Australia,” the regulator said.
Australian carriers reportedly don’t operate the 737 MAX, while two foreign airlines, including Singapore’s SilkAir and Fiji Airways have been flying the jets into the country. SilkAir is barred from flying any 737 MAX by the Singaporean state aviation authority. However, Fiji Airways is not planning to stop flying the two 737 MAX 8s in its fleet.
South Africa’s Comair Airways announced plans to delete the 737 MAX 8 from its flight schedule, though the carrier hasn’t received any official requirements neither from regulatory authorities nor from the manufacturer.
“While Comair has done extensive preparatory work prior to the introduction of the first 737 MAX 8 into its fleet and remains confident in the inherent safety of the aircraft, it has decided temporarily not to schedule the aircraft while it consults with other operators, Boeing and technical experts,” the company’s statement reads.
South Korea’s lowcoster Eastar Jet also grounded its two 737 MAX 8 jets starting to “dispel the worry and concern of the people.” The carrier vowed to resume flights when there are no more safety concerns.
Argentina’s largest airline placed a temporary ban on commercial operations for the five 737 MAX 8s in its fleet.
Aeromexico, the flag carrier airline of Mexico, is temporarily grounding its six 737 MAX 8 planes “until more thorough information on the investigation of flight ET302 accident can be provided.”
Norwegian Air temporarily suspended flights with the Boeing’s plane, following recommendations by European aviation authorities. Norway’s largest carrier had previously refused to stop operating its 18 Boeing 737 MAX 8s.
“We are in close dialogue with Boeing and follow their and the aviation authorities’ instructions and recommendations,” Tomas Hesthammer, director of flight operations said. “Our passengers’ safety is and will always be our top priority.”
Who is still flying the controversial planes?
Without the FAA ban, US airlines continue to operate the aircraft despite the two recent crashes. The country’s two major carriers American Airlines and Southwest Airlines refused to stop operations of 737 MAX 8 jets. Texas-based American Airlines expressed its condolences to the families of crash victims, pledging to further monitor the investigation. Southwest Airlines, which operates 34 of the aircraft in its fleet, is not planning to change its operational policies or procedures.
Canada’s air carrier WestJet decided not to suspend using the 13 MAX 8s it has in its fleet.
“We are monitoring the situation closely and will not speculate on the cause of the incident,” WestJet said in a statement. “WestJet remains confident in the safety of our Boeing 737 fleet including our 13 MAX-8 aircraft first introduced in 2017.”
Emirati airline Flydubai, that flies 11 Boeing 737 MAX 8s, said it “remains confident in the airworthiness of our fleet.”
“We are monitoring the situation and continue to be in touch with Boeing… The safety of our passengers and crew is our first priority,” the statement by Flydubai reads. “The aviation sector is highly regulated and Flydubai rigorously adheres to all regulations.”
Germany’s TUI Aviation Group also doesn’t have plans to suspend the 15 aircraft it is operating.
“We do not comment on any speculation and we are, as always, in close contact with the manufacturer,” the airline said in a statement. “We have no indication that we can’t operate our 737 MAX in a safe way like we do with all other planes in our network.”
Icelandair, the flag carrier of Iceland, said its three Boeing 737 MAX jets have never been involved in any incidents. The company pledged to monitor further developments with the aircraft.
“At this stage, Icelandair is not taking any action following recent events, but we will, however, follow any developments closely and continue to do all we can to ensure safety on board now as before,” a statement reads.
Brazil’s GOL Linhas Aereas, which operates seven 737 MAX 8s in its fleet, also refused to ground the jets.
“GOL continues to follow the investigations and maintains close contact with Boeing for clarification,” the airline said in a statement. “The company reiterates confidence in the safety of its fleet.”