China, Indonesia & Singapore Suspend Boeing 737 Max 8 Operations After 157 Died In Ethiopian Plane Crash
On Monday, 11 March 2019, airlines in Ethiopia, China, Indonesia and Singapore put a temporary ban on Boeing 737 MAX 8. The ban came in the wake of the plane crash in Ethiopia which took lives of 157 people.
A favourite of airlines, this is a second crash involving the Boeing 737 MAX 8 in the last five months. Last plane crash which took place in October 2018 took lives of 180 people involved Lion Air jet of the same model. Amidst criticism over 737 MAX 8 model, Boeing has said there is no reason for it to pull the aircraft off air.
Precautions Taken After Crash
Airlines across the world using Boeing are taking precautions to avoid any such incidents. Boeing 737 MAX Flights are being cancelled and additional checks are being done in the fleet. Ethiopian airlines have grounded 4 of its remaining 737 MAX 8 planes. China has suspended 97 Boeing aircraft, followed by Singapore and Indonesia.
A statement of The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) read, “Temporarily suspending operation of 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.”
Indian civil aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has also issued additional safety measures that need to be taken for Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes. The new measures were taken in areas of engineering and maintenance and flight operations. The new norms require pilot operating the MAX aircraft to have a minimum experience of 1,000 hours and co-pilot to have 500 hours of experience. DGCA has asked airlines to not operate planes in case of dual failure of autopilot and faults in spoiler system.
Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu tweeted about the development.
Directed officials of DGCA to undertake safety assessment of Boeing 737-MAX (being flown by domestic carriers). Safety of the passengers is our utmost concern. Directed Secretary and DGCA to take appropriate action immediately.
— Suresh Prabhu (@sureshpprabhu) March 11, 2019
Ethiopian plane crash
On Sunday morning (8:45 AM local time), an Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 302, carrying 149 passengers and eight crew members on board, crashed a few minutes after it took-off. The flight was heading to Nairobi from Ethiopia.
According to the Airlines, the plane took off at 08:38 am local time from Addis Ababa, Bole International Airport and lost contact at 08:44 am.
The passengers of the Ethiopian Airlines flight came from at least 35 different countries. Most of them were from Kenya. Four Indians including a UN consultant associated with Environment Ministry was among those who died in the crash. There is no confirmation on what led to the aeroplane crash.