Ethiopian Airlines Grounds Boeing 737 MAX 8 over Crash

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•Cockpit voice recorder found
•Air Peace yet to take delivery of same aircraft

Chinedu Eze

Ethiopian Airlines has grounded its entire Boeing 737 MAX 8 fleet after the Sunday crash of one of its planes on a flight to Nairobi that killed all 157 persons on board.
The airline has also recovered the black box, which would open the lead to what caused the crash.

This is coming as Nigeria’s biggest carrier, Air Peace, has clarified that it has not taken delivery of the same B737 MAX 8, which it ordered last year.

The crashed aircraft, a recently delivered 737 MAX 8, took off from Addis Ababa at 8.38a.m. local time with 149 passengers and eight crew on board, but lost contact with air traffic control at 8.44a.m. and crashed.

A statement from the airline yesterday said: “Following the tragic accident of ET 302/10 March B-737-8 MAX (ET-AVJ), Ethiopian Airlines has decided to ground all B-737-8 MAX fleet effective yesterday March 10, 2019 until further notice.

“Although we don’t yet know the cause of the accident, we had to decide to ground the particular fleet as extra safety precaution. Ethiopian Airlines will release further information as soon as it is available.”

China has also grounded the aircraft type, pending further investigation.
Ethiopian Airlines has also announced that it has recovered the black box, which would open the lead to what caused the crash.
The airline has also started recovering bodies of those who died in the crash,” the airline said.

Airwise.com also reported that Chinese aviation regulators have also grounded all the country’s 737-8 MAX, as has Cayman Airways, but major US and Canadian operators of the type expressed confidence in the aircraft.

Boeing said a technical team would travel to the crash site to provide technical assistance under the direction of the Ethiopian Accident Investigation Bureau and the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The NTSB is part of the investigation due to the aircraft’s country of manufacture.

Ethiopian Airlines said there were 149 passengers and eight crew onboard from 35 countries. The nationalities include 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, nine Ethiopians, eight Chinese, eight Italians, eight Americans, two Nigerians, seven French, seven British, six Egyptians and five Germans.

Boeing also extended its “heartfelt sympathies” to the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew on board and “stands ready to support the Ethiopian Airlines team.”
Ethiopian Airlines also said that it had recovered the Cockpit Voice Recorder of the ill-fated flight.

Air Peace Yet to Take Delivery of Same Aircraft

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s biggest carrier, Air Peace, has clarified that it has not taken delivery of the same B737 MAX 8, which it ordered last year.
Air Peace had last year ordered for 10 aircraft of the same B737 MAX 8, but the airline yesterday clarified that it has not taken delivery.

The airline said: “The management of Air Peace Airline has thought it imperative to clarify that Air Peace recently placed a firm order for 10 brand new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. We are, however, yet to take delivery of the aircraft as we are still at the design and configuration stage of the order.

“This clarification has become necessary in view of numerous calls and enquiries on our response to the incidents involving the B737 Max 8 aircraft.
“Although it is premature to comment on the incidents, we wish to assure members of the flying public that we are closely following and monitoring developments on the issue as an airline that prioritises the safety and well-being of our customers.

“While we keep engaging with our partners in this regard, we repose implicit confidence in Boeing and aviation authorities to capably and satisfactorily address all the issues if at the conclusion of ongoing investigations it is discovered that the challenge is with the B737 Max 8. We urge members of the flying public to continue to choose Air Peace as their preferred airline and trust us to always act in their best interest.”

The crashed 737 MAX 8 is the same type involved in the crash of a Lion Air flight off the coast of Indonesia last year.
All 189 passengers and crew were killed on that flight.
Airwise.com reported that investigators would look for possible links between the two crashes, with both happening shortly after takeoff, and reports suggesting vertical airspeed variations similar to the Lion Air crash.

Indonesian authorities have yet to complete the investigation of the Lion Air crash and issue a final report.
Reacting to the crashes, the General Manager, Public Affairs of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Mr. Sam Adurogboye, told THISDAY yesterday that Nigeria was yet to have such aircraft in its registry.

He said NCAA would continue to monitor events as they unfold over developments of the crash and attendant investigations.
Also, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Captain Fola Akinkuotu, said that Boeing, the manufacturer of the aircraft, would have to fix the problem with the aircraft.
He, however, added that the high demand for the aircraft may slow down because of people’s apprehension about their safety but expressed optimism that Boeing would resolve the problem.