Australia, New Zealand and many other countries have grounded the Boeing 737 MAX 8 and Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft. It comes after the tragic crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi last Sunday.
Although the cause of the Ethiopian Airlines accident is as yet unknown, it is the second accident involving the aircraft type in recent months. Australian and other authorities have therefore decided not to take any chances. On Tuesday, the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) suspended all Boeing 737 MAX operations in Australian airspace.
CASA CEO Shane Carmody said that the suspension was only a temporary precaution and that the regulator will “wait for more information to review the safety risks of continued operations of the Boeing 737 MAX to and from Australia”.
Singapore-based SilkAir and Fiji Airways were the only two airlines operating the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in Australia. SilkAir had already grounded its Boeing 737 MAX fleet prior to the CASA ban. Fiji Airways has also since grounded its two Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, pending more information becoming available from the accident investigation.
No Australian airline flies the Boeing 737 MAX. Virgin Australia does have some on order, but these aircraft are not due for delivery until the end of the year.
Other models of the Boeing 737, including the Boeing 737-800, are not affected.
Australia is by no means the only country to have temporarily grounded the aircraft type, which has only been in commercial service for less than two years. Dozens of other countries have taken similar action, including Singapore, China, Indonesia, Turkey, South Korea, Malaysia, the UAE, the UK, the European Union and Canada. Some airlines, including Ethiopian Airlines, have also voluntarily withdrawn the aircraft type from service as a precaution.
At this point it is unclear how long these suspensions will last.
Over recent days, the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had spoken out in support of the Boeing 737 MAX’s safety despite other nations grounding the aircraft. But this morning, the United States has also grounded all 737 MAX aircraft.
Some airlines still operating the Boeing 737 MAX over recent days had been offering waivers to customers that wished to re-book onto another aircraft type. But at this point, there are barely any of the aircraft left in the sky anyway.
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