Boeing 737 MAX 8 under scrutiny after crash

Boeing 737 MAX 8

SilkAir and SpiceJet are reported to be still operating Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes after the Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday (March 10). The planes have been grounded in China.

The Nairobi-bound Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302, a Boeing 737 Max 8, crashed minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa on Sunday (March 10), killing all 157 people on board.

This is the second disaster involving a Boeing 737 Max 8 in five months. In October, a Lion Air plane crashed into the sea off the Indonesian capital of Jakarta 13 minutes after take-off, killing all 189 on board.

The Max 8, the latest version of Boeing’s narrow-body jet, entered service only in 2017.

SilkAir – the regional arm of Singapore Airlines (SIA) – said on Monday (March 11) that its Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes are continuing to operate as scheduled while it is “closely monitoring the situation”, reports Channel News Asia.

SilkAir currently has six Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes in its fleet with another 31 on firm order.

China’s aviation authorities have grounded their Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets after the crash. Chinese airlines have 96 737 MAX jets in service, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said, reports the Hindu.

India’s aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will seek information from Boeing as well as Jet Airways and SpiceJet operating Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, reports NDTV. SpiceJet is continuing to operate all 13 jets of this model, it said.

The 737 MAX 8 is a new model from the US aircraft manufacturer Boeing’s best-selling 737, which has been operating since 1967. More than 300 Boeing 737 MAX planes are in operation and more than 5,000 have been ordered worldwide since 2017.

Boeing said it would help with investigations into the Ethiopian crash. “Boeing is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the passengers and crew on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a 737 MAX 8 airplane,” the company said in a statement. “We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew on board and stand ready to support the Ethiopian Airlines team,” it said.

Since the Lion Air accident, the 737 MAX has faced growing scepticism from the aerospace community. In May 2017, Boeing had halted 737 MAX test flights because of quality concerns with the engine produced by CFM International, a company jointly owned by France’s Safran Aircraft Engines and GE Aviation.

“MAX is a very important programme for Boeing in the next decade. It represents 64 per cent of the company’s production to 2032, and has significant operational margins,” said Michel Merluzeau, director of Aerospace & Defense Market Analysis.