China, Ethiopia and Indonesia have suspended all flights of Boeing 737 Max 8 planes after a second deadly crash involving the aircraft in less than five months, with the countries saying they were taking the unprecedented step to ensure passenger safety.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China was the first to tell domestic airlines to suspend operations of the aircraft on Monday morning, noting similarities between Sunday’s crash and an October crash also involving a Boeing 737 Max 8, when 189 people died after a plane owned by Indonesia’s Lion Air plunged into the sea.
“Both crashes occurred during take-off and have certain similarities,” the Chinese regulator said on its website, adding the suspension was “in accordance with management principles of zero tolerance for security risks and to ensure flight safety for civil aviation in China”.
Ethiopian Airlines has also grounded its fleet of Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft following the crash. “Although we don’t yet know the cause of the accident, we had to decide to ground the particular fleet as [an] extra safety precaution,” the airline said on Monday.
Indonesia has also issued a similar order for a temporarily grounding of the Boeing planes for inspections on Monday evening, saying it had to ensure the “aircraft is airworthy”.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Boeing in China said: “We have engaged our customers and regulators on concerns they may have. . . The investigation is in its early stages, but at this point, based on the information available, we do not have any basis to issue new guidance to operators.”
The company said in a statement following the crash on Sunday that it would send a team to Ethiopia to “provide technical assistance” to investigators.
It was gathered that two Nigerians, a Canada-based professor of Literary Arts, Carleton University, Pius Adesanmi, and a former UN and African Union (AU) Deputy Joint Special Representative in Darfur, Sudan were among the victims of the crash.