S’pore & Several Countries Are Now Grounding Boeing 737 MAX 8 Planes Temporarily

Image: Komenton / Shutterstock.com (Image is for illustration purpose only)

A while back, the world was shaken by a terrible news: five months after the shocking Lion Air plane crash that killed all 189 people on board, another plane has crashed, this time operated by Ethiopian Airlines.

It killed all 157 people on board.

Now it has to be mentioned that the previous time, the plane that was on the receiving end of Lion Air’s fatalistic incident happened to be a Boeing 737 MAX 8.

Image: Sergey Kohl / Shutterstock.com

And this time around? Yep you guessed it.

It’s the exact same model.

A popular plane used by numerous commercial airlines, the Boeing 737 MAX 8 (a variant of the Boeing 737) is estimated to cost about USD$54.5 million. But with two incidents back to back that occurred in near-similar fashion, the question’s raised:

Could it be the plane itself that’s of concern?

Ludicrous as it might sound, the reality of it is that it’s plausible. And with such considerations in mind…

Several countries have temporarily pulled the plug on their Boeing 737 MAX 8 models, for fear of repeated incidents.

Grounded

According to Channel NewsAsia, a number of countries have grounded the medium-haul workhorse jet in response to the Ethiopian Airlines crash that happened on Sunday (10 March).

With an estimated 350 of the 737 MAX 8 planes currently in service around the world, some countries and airlines have chosen to ground the plane in the wake of the disaster.

Here’s a list of countries and airlines that have grounded the Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes:

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Singapore

Today (12 March 2019), Singapore’s aviation regulator said that it’s momentarily suspending the operation of all variants of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft into and out of Singapore. The suspension will supposedly commence from 2:00 p.m. today.

SilkAir, the regional arm of Singapore Airlines and operator of six Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, will be affected by the temporary suspension.

If you can’t read, here’s their statement in full:

[Travel Advisory]

SilkAir statement on Boeing 737 MAX 8 operations

We are deeply saddened by the loss of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302, and our hearts go out to those affected by the accident.

SilkAir is temporarily withdrawing its Boeing 737 MAX 8 fleet from service.

SilkAir currently has six 737 MAX 8s. The safety of our customers and crew is our highest priority. As of this morning, all six aircraft have been grounded in Singapore and will not be returned to service until further notice. Our 17 Boeing 737-800NGs are not affected.

The withdrawal from service of the 737 MAX 8 fleet will have an impact on some of the airline’s flight schedules. Customers who may be affected by flight disruptions will be contacted for reaccommodation.

SilkAir is in close communication with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and Changi Airport Group (CAG) to manage the effects of flight disruptions. We will provide updates on affected flights when finalised.

We will continue to work closely with the regulatory authorities and will provide updates when there is new information.

Customers affected by the Boeing 737 MAX 8 flight disruptions who require assistance may email [email protected] with their six-character booking reference number and contact details, or contact our Singapore hotline at +65 6223 8888. As we are experiencing high call volumes at our call centres, we strongly encourage customers to email for assistance.

Customers are advised to update their contact details or subscribe to a mobile notification service to receive updates to their flight status here: https://bit.ly/2Lq86i0. Customers may also check our website regularly for updates.

First posted 12 March 2019, 1055hrs (GMT +8)

China

A day before Singapore’s announcement, Beijing has already ordered its own domestic airlines to suspend commercial operation of the plane model. This is in light of the aforementioned incidents, which occurred just recently and last year.

Having detected “similarities” between the two accidents, China’s Civil Aviation Administration expressed that operation of the model would only continue after “confirming the relevant measures to effectively ensure flight safety”.

Indonesia

The site where a Boeing plane of the same model had met its end in October, Indonesia stated that it was grounding its 11 jets of the 737 MAX 8 type.

Inspections of the aircraft will commence today, and the planes would remain grounded until they were passed by safety regulators.

South Korea

The two Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes would be grounded pending an inspection.

Mongolia

The Mongolian Civil Aviation Authority announced on Facebook that it had commanded the state carrier MIAT Mongolian Airlines to stop all commercial operations of the sole Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft in its fleet.

Ethopian Airlines

“Following the tragic accident of ET 302 … Ethiopian Airlines has decided to ground all B-737-8 MAX fleet … until further notice,” the state-owned carrier said.

“Although we don’t yet know the cause of the accident, we have to decide to ground the particular fleet as an extra safety precaution,” said the airline, which also happens to be Africa’s largest airline.

Comair

South African airline Comair said it had “decided to remove its 737 MAX from its flight schedule”.

Suspension of flights for its two 737 MAX 8 planes will persist till “more information is received”.

Gol

In a statement released on Monday, the Brazilian airline announced that it was momentarily suspending commercial operations for its seven Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft.

It has however expressed confidence in Boeing, and is doing everything possible to resume the grounded flights as soon as possible.

Aeromexico

Until clear information regarding Sunday’s crash of the Ethopian Airlines jet is released, the operation of Mexican airline Aeromexico’s six Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes will be suspended.

“Flights operated with these planes will be covered by the rest of the fleet,” Aeromexico said in a statement.

On the other hand, here’s a list of countries still flying the Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet:

United States

The US Federal Aviation Administration has said that it will take “immediate” action if there were safety concerns.

“We remain confident in the safety and airworthiness of our fleet of more than 750 Boeing aircraft,” said Southwest Airlines, which operates 34 Boeing-737 MAX 8 planes.

American Airlines is also reportedly planning to continue operation of its two dozen 737 MAX 8s.

Russia

Russia airline S7 has cited a lack of instructions to cease the flight of the 737 MAX 8.

Turkey

The carrier will fly the planes as scheduled. It has been in touch with Boeing, and asserted that passenger security was paramount.

Italy

Air Italy has expressed intentions to follow all directives “to ensure the maximum level of safety and security”.

Iceland

For now, “nothing pushes us towards the slightest action”, Icelandair operations chief Jens Thordarson said.

  • Norway
  • Dubai
  • Oman

Oman Air said that it will be contacting Boeing in regards to any possible implications for other airlines operating the same model.

The airline currently has six Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes with another 31 on firm order.

Tragedy

Being the emotionally-driven person I am, I shall just end off this article with a prayer for all the affected personnel out there, whose loved ones were cruelly taken away by an accident of such tragic nature. Truly, truly.

Also, I would just like to be a naggy grandpa here and reiterate:

Cherish your loved ones people. Every minute, every second.