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Rescuers work at the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines flight crash near Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, south of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia yesterday.
Rescuers work at the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines flight crash near Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, south of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia yesterday.
Image: Mulugeta Ayene

Singapore joins list of countries to ban use of 737 Max planes following Ethiopia Airlines crash

A total of 157 people died after the plane went down on Sunday.
Mar 12th 2019, 7:09 AM 15,454 17

SINGAPORE HAS JOINED the list of countries that have banned the use of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in the country’s airspace, following the deadly Ethiopia plane crash at the weekend.

The Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 went down minutes into a flight to Nairobi in Kenya Sunday, killing all 157 people on board, months after a Lion Air jet of the same model crashed in Indonesia killing 189.

One of those killed was 39-year-old Michael Ryan, a worker with Deputy Chief Engineer at the United Nations’ World Food Programme.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said in a statement it was “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”.

The move comes as airlines around the world remove the model from their schedules, while US regulators have ordered Boeing to make urgent improvements to the jet.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) yesterday ordered Boeing to improve anti-stalling software and the model’s maneuvering system, giving the company until the end of April to make the updates.

But it ruled out grounding the fleet for now. It said investigations had “just begun” and so far no data had been provided to “draw any conclusions or take any actions”.

Singapore’s suspension came into effect from 2pm local time (6am Irish time) this morning.

The regulator said that SilkAir, the regional wing of Singapore Airlines, operates six Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

Safety doubts 

Airlines in Ethiopia, China, South Africa, Indonesia and the Cayman Islands said yesterday they were suspending operations by their 737 MAX 8 fleets.

The move caused Boeing shares to drop around 12% earlier in the day, before recovering about half its losses in mid-afternoon New York trading. 

Ethiopian Airlines said investigators had found the plane’s flight data and cockpit voice recorders yesterday.

It said it had grounded its fleet of six remaining Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes pending analysis of the black box data.

“We assume we will find out the cause of the crash in the black box data,” the airline said.

China also ordered domestic airlines to suspend commercial operation of the MAX 8.

Indonesia, which has 11 of the MAX 8 model planes, said it would “carry out inspections and temporarily prohibit Boeing 737 Max 8 from flying”.

South Korea ordered an inspection of two MAX 8 planes flown by low-cost Eastar Jet.

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Some other airlines said they were not cancelling MAX 8 flights, including Oman Air, flydubai, Turkish Airlines and Russia’s S7.

Boeing has described the MAX series as its fastest-selling aeroplane ever, with more than 5,000 orders placed to date from about 100 customers.

State-owned Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s largest carrier, had ordered 30 MAX 8 jets in total, and China has received 76 from an order of 180.

The plane that crashed on Sunday was less than four months old. Ethiopian Airlines said it was delivered on November 15.

The jet went down near the village of Tulu Fara, some 60 kilometres (40 miles) east of Addis Ababa.

TheJournal.ie has contacted Ryanair and Aer Lingus for comment.

© AFP 2019 

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