Airlines ground 737 Max 8 jets after 2nd crash in five months

-A Monitor Report16 Mar, 2019 | 207 Views|-+
Dhaka : The second deadly crash of a Boeing 737 MAX 8 since October has forced the global airlines to ground the latest version of one of the world's most popular passenger jets.

The tragedy on Sunday, March 10 which occurred six minutes after a takeoff from the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa en route to Nairobi, Kenya, claimed the lives of 157 people.

The crash came less than five months after another brand new 737 MAX 8, belonging to Indonesian airline Lion Air, fell into the Java Sea just 13 minutes after takeoff from Jakarta, killing all 189 on board.

Ethiopian Airlines said the pilot was given clearance to turn around after flagging difficulties to airport authorities before the plane disappeared from radar.

Ethiopian Airlines announces that the Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) of ET302 have been recovered.

It may be noted that no airlines in Bangladesh currently operate 737 MAX 8 aircraft. But US-Bangla Airlines has taken lease of two and awaiting delivery in 2020.

Safety question

Boeing has described the MAX series as its fastest-selling airplane ever, with more than 5,000 orders placed to date from about 100 customers. Boeing faces safety questions after second crash in five months.

Primarily used for short and medium-haul flights, more than 300 Boeing 737-MAX planes are operated by nearly 30 carriers across the world of the two crashes, the airplane model is the same. Some key circumstances are remarkably similar. And the outcome was equally tragic.

It's no wonder, then, that a number of questions are being raised about the safety of Boeing's 737 MAX 8 aircraft, the plane involved in Sunday's crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which nosedived to the ground outside the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.

The accident drew immediate parallels to the October 29 crash of a Lion Air plane that plunged from the skies above Indonesia and into the Java Sea, killing all 189 passengers and crewmembers.

The grounding

The narrow-body Boeing 737 MAX 8 that hit the market in 2017 has been generally recognised by dozens of air carriers across the globe for its bigger engine and improved fuel efficiency in comparison with previous versions.

The latest crash of Boeing's best-selling passenger jet has sent shockwaves through the entire airline industry.

Airlines in Ethiopia, China and Indonesia grounded Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets on Monday March 11. Gradually others including USA, UK, European Union, Canada, India, Bangladesh U.A.E and Morocco grounded the 737 MAX following national regulators' requirements.

It may be noted that Chinese air carriers reportedly accounted for about 20 percent of 737 MAX deliveries worldwide through January. The US carriers are reportedly the second biggest outlets for the world's largest aerospace group

Reaction of Boeing

Meanwhile, Boeing continues to have full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX. However, after consultation with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and aviation authorities and its customers around the world, Boeing has determined -- out of an abundance of caution and in order to reassure the flying public of the aircraft's safety -- to recommend to the FAA the temporary suspension of operations of the entire global fleet of 371 737 MAX aircraft.

"On behalf of the entire Boeing team, we extend our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of those who have lost their lives in these two tragic accidents," said Dennis Muilenburg, president, CEO, Chairman of The Boeing Company.

"We are supporting this proactive step out of an abundance of caution. Safety is a core value at Boeing for as long as we have been building airplanes; and it always will be. There is no greater priority for our company and our industry. We are doing everything we can to understand the cause of the accidents in partnership with the investigators, deploy safety enhancements and help ensure this does not happen again."

Boeing makes this recommendation and supports the decision by the FAA.

Airlines stand to lose

Both crashes involving MAX 8 planes are currently under investigations that could take months to complete. RT has decided to look into potential losses for the air carriers that have the most MAX jets in their fleet in the worst case scenario that may include full grounding and a halt to the deliveries of the plane.

Under the circumstances, airlines stand to lose billions from the grounding of one of the world's most popular planes as they scramble to find replacement aircraft. Smaller carriers may suffer much bigger losses, as they do not have as many alternatives in their fleet as their larger rivals.

According to the producer, 355 MAX 8 jets were operated by global carriers as of January 31, 2019 with 5,123 total orders for the aircraft. The average price of the unit reportedly reaches USD 121.6 million.

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