Boeing suspend 737 MAX fleet

14 March 2019

Written by: Liam Melrose

The aircraft manufacturer has decided to play it safe, grounding the fleet "indefinitely".

Boeing has followed the lead of US president Donald Trump to ground its entire global fleet of 737 MAX aircraft following new evidence being uncovered at the scene of the fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash.

Donald Trump spoke to the media overnight, stating that he didn’t want to take any chances on the 737 MAX fleet following new evidence being found at the site of the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

“We didn’t have to make this decision today,” he said. “We could have delayed it. We maybe didn’t have to make it at all. But I felt it was important both psychologically and in a lot of other ways.”

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed on Sunday morning just six minutes after takeoff near the town of Bishoftu in Ethiopia, killing all 157 passengers and crew aboard.

This was the second of two crashes involving the same make of Boeing aircraft, the 737 MAX.

Boeing continues to publicly maintain full confidence in the safety of the model.

However, after discussion with The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transport Safety Board, they have decided to ground the entire 737 max fleet as a cautionary measure in the best interest of the public’s safety.

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg says the decision was made out of “an abundance of caution”, and that Boeing is doing “everything we can to understand the cause of the accidents in the partnership with the investigators, deploy safety enhancements and help ensure this does not happen again”.

In October 2018 Lion Airlines Flight 610 crashed shortly after takeoff in Indonesia. Some experts believe the two incidents are eerily similar.

US pilots have reported that they have experienced difficulties controlling the aircraft during takeoff, stating that the plane randomly nosedives following the switch to autopilot. It is believed that pilots are not being adequately trained on how to operate the autopilot system within the aircraft.

Air traffic monitor Flightradar24 found that the Ethiopian Airlines aircraft vertical speed was unstable during takeoff, much the same as the Lion Airlines aircraft.

The FAA issued a statement regarding the 737 MAX fleet.

‘The FAA is ordering the temporary grounding of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft operated by U.S Airlines or in U.S territory. The agency made this decision as a result of the data gathering process and new evidence collected at the site and analyzed today. This evidence, together with newly refined satellite data available to FAA this morning, led to this decision. The grounding will remain in effect pending further investigation, including examination of the information from the aircraft’s flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders. An FAA team is in Ethiopia assisting the NTSB as parties to the investigation of the flight 302 accident. The agency will continue to investigate.’

 It is unknown when the Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 9 will resume flying again.

 

Photograph by: Marina Hinic sourced from Pexel.