Boeing 737 MAX 8 grounded in more countries, regions in Asia-Pacific over safety concerns

Source: Xinhua| 2019-03-15 13:31:34|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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HONG KONG, March 15 (Xinhua) -- More countries and regions in Asia-Pacific have decided to ground the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft over safety concerns after the fatal crash of an Ethiopian Airlines' passenger jet on Sunday.

The Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 bound for Nairobi, Kenya crashed shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa on Sunday, killing all 157 people on board.

It was the second deadly crash for a Boeing 737 MAX 8 model in less than five months. The first one occurred in October last year when an aircraft of the same model operated by Indonesia's Lion Air plunged into the waters off western Indonesia minutes after taking off, killing 189 people.

China was the first country in the world to suspend all Boeing 737 Max 8 airplanes. Countries and regions in Asia-Pacific including Indonesia, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, Malaysia, India, Fiji, New Zealand and China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region followed suit on or before Wednesday.

Besides, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam decided to close the Vietnamese air space to Boeing 737 Max since 10:00 a.m. local time of Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, the Civil Aviation Authority of China's Macao Special Administrative Region decided to temporarily suspend the flight applications of Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 aircraft by any airlines.

Currently, aircraft registered in Macao do not include the Boeing 737 MAX model. Nor are there any operations of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft by any airlines in Macao International Airport, the authority said.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand on Wednesday announced the decision to ground Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft for seven days.

Thai airlines do not operate Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets. Thai Lion Air, however, operates three Boeing 737 MAX 9 which have been put into use since January last year.

The authority said it would suspend the use of Thai Lion Air's Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft from March 14 to 20 and would continue to work on safety measures.

Samoa's Minister of Public Enterprises Lautafi Selafi Purcell said on Wednesday that the government had deferred the commissioning of new Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft until it gets the green light from regional aviation regulators.

The minister said that the similarities in Boeing 737 Max 8 with Samoa Airways' new Boeing MAX 9 compelled them to take precaution.

The Samoa Airways-leased Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft is expected in the island nation later in March with the airline issuing a statement recently, which said the leased aircraft would replace the Boeing 737-800.

Brunei on Wednesday barred all Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft from flying over its airspace.

Sri Lanka is monitoring the safety issue of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, but no such aircraft was overflying or landing in Sri Lanka at the moment, Director General of Civil Aviation H.M.C Nimalsiri said on Thursday.

Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism said it has instructed airlines to stop flying Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 9 airplanes into or out of airports in Japan.

According to the ministry, no Japanese airline is currently using the Boeing 737 MAX series aircraft and five foreign airlines used to fly the series to Japan had received imposition of the flying ban.