Countries and airlines around the globe are grounding their Boeing 737 Max planes since Sunday. The aviation authorities in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Australia, Indonesia, China, India and other countries have either grounded or discontinued the services of the Boeing variant in their respective airspace.
The Nairobi-bound Ethiopian Airline jet crash is the second crash of a 737 Max 8 plane in less than five months. Last October, a Max 8 flight operated by Lion Air crashed into the Java Sea. In both the incidents, the entire crew and passengers on board were killed.
Reportedly, the pilots of both fatal flights unsuccessfully tried to turn back to the airport a few minutes after takeoff. The aircraft in question had experienced drastic fluctuations in vertical speed during ascent. Technically, the negative vertical speeds should be recorded only when an aircraft is about to reach its destination and departs from cruising altitude.
China was the first country to order its domestic carriers to ground the nearly 100 Boeing 737 MAX 8s in operation. Meanwhile, in the past two days Indonesia, Mongolia, Ethiopia, Oman and UAE followed the suit. In addition, several countries started closing their respective airspace to these planes. The countries include Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, UK, the European Union, India and New Zealand.Several carriers, including Cayman Airways, South African airline Comair, Aeromexico and Brazil’s Gol Airlines, have also independently decided to suspend operations of this aircraft model pending reviews. Argentina’s Aerolineas Argentinas reportedly flat out refused to fly the jet.The airlines and regulators which took preventive measures against Boeing 737 Max:AEROMEXICO
AUSTRALIA’S CIVIL AVIATION SAFETY AUTHORITY
BERMUDA CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY
BRAZIL’S AIR TRAVEL REGULATOR
GOL LINHAS AEREAS INTELIGENTES SA
CANADA’S TRANSPORT MINISTRY
CHINA’S AVIATION REGULATOR
KUWAIT CIVIL AVIATION
MIAT MONGOLIAN AIRLINES
NEW ZEALAND’S CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY
SINGAPORE CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY
SOUTH KOREA TRANSPORT MINISTRY
SWISS FEDERAL OFFICE OF CIVIL AVIATION
TURKEY TRANSPORT MINISTRY/TURKISH AIRLINES
UAE GENERAL CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY
UK CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY
VIETNAM’S CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY
On Tuesday evening, India grounded Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes. Directorate General of Civil Aviation announced that these planes “will be grounded till appropriate modifications and safety measures are undertaken to ensure their safe operations”.
Furthermore, the government also banned the entry and transit of the Boeing variant in the Indian airspace from 4 pm today. The deadline, according to a DGCA spokesperson, was picked “to cater to situations where aircraft can be positioned at maintenance facilities and international flights can reach their destinations”.
Airline fares to skyrocket:
Due to various reasons, Jet Airways and Indigo were already grounding most of its flights in the country. This has led to hiking of airfares in the country already. Now with SpiceJet fleet joining the team have posted a great dilemma for the passengers.
This will also impact domestic air traffic growth. Jet had already dropped to a 52-month low at 9.1% year-on-year during January mainly due to higher fares.Civil Aviation Ministry’s take:
The DGCA, on Monday, reviewed recent snags and defects reported in the Indian Boeing737 Max 8s. Reportedly, it found “no significant concern” and had issued additional safety guidelines for flying these planes. Among other things, the regulator said that pilots flying these planes must have at least 1,000 hours of flying experience. The minimum experience level for co-pilot is fixed at 500 hours.
“While passenger safety is a zero tolerance issue, efforts are already on to minimise the impact on passenger movement as their convenience is important,” Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu tweeted on Tuesday night.
Boeing has delivered 350 of the Max 8 model out of 5,011 orders till January end. The top three identified airline customers for the 737 Max are Southwest Airlines (280), flydubai (251), and Lion Air (251).The Max 8 which crashed in Adis Ababa was one of 30 ordered as part of Ethiopian Airlines’ expansion. It underwent “rigorous first check maintenance” on 4 February.