China and Ethiopia ground killer American plane, the Boeing 737 MAX 8 Updated for 2021

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Updated: March 3, 2021


China and Ethiopia have gounded a now dubbed killer plane, the Boeing 737 MAX 8, after another deadly crash in Ethiopia on Sunday that was similar to a previous tragic crash in Indonesia last October.

In both plane crashes, all the passengers and crew on board were killed just minutes after take off.

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In Ethiopia on Sunday, it was 8 minutes after take off while in Indonesia in October, it was 13 minutes after take off.

The suspension of Boeing 737 MAX by China and Ethiopia came after an Ethiopian Airlines operating a Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed on Sunday morning, killing all the 157 passengers and crew on board.

The flying machine crashed only 8 minutes after take off from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia while on its way to Nairobi in Kenya.

It was the second crash of the 737 MAX 8, the latest version of Boeing’s workhorse narrowbody jet.

In October, a 737 MAX 8 operated by Indonesian budget carrier Lion Air crashed 13 minutes after take-off from Jakarta, killing all 189 passengers and crew on board.

It was not yet clear what caused the crash, but the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder have both been recovered, Ethiopian Airlines said.

The 737 MAX 8 first entered service in 2017, and by the end of January 2019, Boeing had delivered 350 of the 737 MAX family jets to customers, with another 4,661 on order.

An Ethiopian Airlines spokesman said the carrier had grounded all of its Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft as “an extra safety precaution” following the deadly crash on Sunday.

Ethiopian Airlines decided to ground its remaining four 737 Max 8s until further notice, spokesman Asrat Begashaw said.

Ethiopian Airlines had been using five of the planes and awaiting delivery of 25 more, according to the Associated Press.

On Monday, China’s aviation regulator grounded nearly 100 Boeing Co 737 MAX 8 aircraft operated by its airlines.

That number of planes grounded represented more than a quarter of the global fleet of the jets.

Reuters news agency quoted the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) as saying that all Chinese airlines had to suspend their use of the 737 MAX 8 by 6 p.m. (1000 GMT).

The CAAC would notify airlines as to when they could resume flying the jets after contacting Boeing and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ensure flight safety, it said.

“Given that two accidents both involved newly delivered Boeing 737-8 planes and happened during take-off phase, they have some degree of similarity,” the CAAC said, adding that the order was in line with its principle of zero-tolerance on safety hazards. The 737 MAX 8 is sometimes referred to as the 737-8, Reuters reported.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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