Following the Ethiopian Airline flight ET302 crash that claimed the lives of everyone on board, 157 in total, South African carrier Comair has grounded its single Boeing 737 MAX 8 that was delivered just two weeks ago. Boeing 737 MAX 8 is the same kind of jet that was involved in the Ethiopian Airlines crash, the second crash involving the Boeing 737 MAX 8 series in the past 5 months since the Lion Air Flight 610 crash. Although Comair, which franchises the British Airways brand, had previously said they would keep flying their 737 MAX 8 jet, their tune has now changed.
Comair's announcement comes after Ethiopia, China, Indonesia, and Mongolia order airlines to ground their Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets. However, But at least 12 other carriers, including American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, which are heavy users of the Max 8, continued to fly them on Monday. Boeing is now being questioned on the safety of its 737 MAX 8 series.
Aviation experts, Chinese regulators, and concerned passengers highlighted the fact both the Ethiopian Airlines crash and the Lion Air crash involved models that had been in service for only a short period of time. Provisional flight data from the tracking website FlightRadar24 suggested ET302 climbed erratically in the short time it was in the air. Eerily, the pilot of the plane, as in the Lion Air case, reported difficulties to air traffic controllers quickly after takeoff and requested permission to turn back.
Mary Schiavo, a former inspector general of the US transportation department, told CNN that the latest disaster was “highly suspicious” and “rings alarm bells in the aviation industry because that just doesn’t happen”. Mary said that Boeing should “take the lead” in telling airlines to ground the plane.
The definitive cause of the crash has not been established. However, investigations are well underway and the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder have both been recovered, Ethiopian Airlines said.
Boeing shares had slid 11% in early Monday trading.
Header Image Credit: World Airline News