Growing number of Boeing Max 8 planes grounded after crash

Boeing shares fell more than 9 per cent Monday in pre-market trading

Aviation authorities in China, Indonesia and Ethiopia ordered airlines to ground their Boeing 737 Max 8 planes Monday after one crashed in Ethiopia, killing all 157 people on board.

The crash of the Ethiopian Airlines jet shortly after it took off from Addis Ababa on Sunday is drawing renewed scrutiny of the plane just four months after a similar crash of the same model that killed 189 people in Indonesia.

Chicago-based Boeing said it did not intend to issue any new guidance to its customers. It does plan to send a technical team to the crash site to help Ethiopian and U.S. investigators.

The 737 is the bestselling airliner in history, and the Max, the newest version of it with more fuel-efficient engines, is a central part of Boeing’s strategy to compete with European rival Airbus.

“Safety is our number one priority and we are taking every measure to fully understand all aspects of this accident, working closely with the investigating team and all regulatory authorities involved,” the company said in a statement.

A spokesman for Ethiopian Airlines, Asrat Begashaw, said the carrier had grounded its remaining four 737 Max 8 planes until further notice as an “extra safety precaution.”

The airline had been using five new 737 Max 8s and awaiting delivery of 25 more. Asrat said the search for body parts and debris from the crash was continuing.

China’s Civil Aviation Administration said that it ordered airlines to ground all 737 Max 8 aircraft, in line with the principle of “zero tolerance for security risks.”

It said it would issue further notices after consulting with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing.

READ MORE: Mother, young daughter from Edmonton killed in Ethiopian plane crash

READ MORE: Canadians mourn as victims of Ethiopian Airlines crash identified

Chinese carriers and leasing companies operate 96 Boeing 737 8 MAXs, according to the government, with dozens more believed to be on order. China Southern Airlines is one of Boeing’s biggest customers for the aircraft.

Indonesia also grounded 11 737 Max 8s for inspections to ensure flight safety and that the planes are airworthy, said Director General of Air Transportation Polana B. Pramesti.

Cayman Airways also said it was temporarily grounding two Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.

Real time flight radar apps showed dozens of the aircraft still operating around the globe.

The head of Indonesia’s national transport safety agency, Soerjanto Thahjono, offered to aid the Ethiopian investigation into Sunday’s crash.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board likewise said it was sending a team to help Ethiopian authorities. Boeing and the U.S. investigative agency are also involved in the probe into the Lion Air crash in Indonesia in October.

Like the Ethiopian Airlines crash, which happened minutes after the jet’s takeoff from Addis Ababa, the Lion Air jet that crashed off Indonesia had erratic speed during the few minutes it was in the air.

Safety experts cautioned, however, against drawing too many parallels between the two disasters.

“I do hope though that people will wait for the first results of the investigation instead of jumping to conclusions based on the very little facts that we know so far,” said Harro Ranter, founder of the Aviation Safety Network, which compiles information about accidents worldwide.

The situation will be better understood after investigators analyze the Ethiopian plane’s black boxes, said William Waldock, an aviation-safety professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. An airline official said Monday that the black box and cockpit voice recorder had been found, but the box was partially damaged.

Waldock said the way the planes both crashed — a fatal nosedive — was likely to raise suspicion. Boeing will likely look more closely at the flight-management system and automation on the Max, he said.

“Investigators are not big believers in coincidence,” he said.

Boeing has delivered about 350 737 Max planes to scores of airlines and has orders for more than 5,000.

Shares in the company fell more than 9 per cent Monday in pre-market trading.

Alan Diehl, a former National Transportation Safety Board investigator, said reports of large variations in vertical speed during the Ethiopian jetliner’s ascent were “clearly suggesting a potential controllability problem.”

Other possible causes include engine problems, pilot error, weight load, sabotage or bird strikes, he said.

Ethiopian has a good reputation and the company’s CEO told reporters no problems were spotted before Sunday’s fight. But investigators also will look into the plane’s maintenance, which may have been an issue in the Lion Air crash.

Days after the Indonesian accident, Boeing notified airlines that faulty information from a sensor could cause the plane to automatically point the nose down. The automated system kicks in if sensors indicate that a plane is about to lose lift, or go into an aerodynamic stall. Gaining speed by diving can prevent a stall.

The notice reminded pilots of the procedure for handling such a situation, which is to disable the system causing the automatic nose-down movements.

Indonesian investigators are examining whether faulty readings from a sensor might have triggered the automatic nose-down command to the plane, which the Lion Air pilots fought unsuccessfully to overcome.

The Lion Air plane’s flight data recorder showed problems with an airspeed indicator on at least four previous flights, although the airline initially said the problem was fixed.

Boeing Chairman and CEO Dennis Muilenburg said in December that the Max is a safe plane.

___

Associated Press writer Niniek Karmini in Jakarta, Indonesia, and AP Airlines Writer David Koenig in Dallas, Texas, contributed to this report.

Christopher Bodeen, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

UPDATE: Penticton resident’s dog found safe

Nicholas Bozak thanks the public for finding his 17 month old mastiff chow

Survivorship Dragon Boat Team wins in Vernon

Team takes top spot in A division at festival

RDOS contributes funds to arts centre workshop

South Okanagan Performing Arts Centre Society wants input into proposed facility

Great horned owls returned to the wild in the South Okanagan

Great horned owls plucked by crows from their nest last April have been released back into the wild

Youth Wellness Gathering aims to empower, educate South Okanagan youth

The event is hosted by a non-profit located on the Penticton Indian Band (PIB) reserve July 22 & 23

July showers wash out half of the Okanagan’s cherry crop

Cherry growers say this is the worst season they’ve seen in decades

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Kelowna car thief’s sentencing delayed

Stanley Nickason pled guilty car theft charges in B.C. Supreme Court

Development gives Kelowna community garden the boot

Glen Valley residents given a few days to break it down before land development

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

World-famous sopranos to hold concert in Okanagan

Two Canadian sopranos are bringing their world-famous voices to the Okanagan for one night only

Kelowna RCMP release video of reckless theft out of Southwest Mission

“Their tactics were anything but subtle,” states Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey

UPDATE: West Kelowna fawn euthanized, not claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer has been euthanized after a suitable home was not found in time

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Most Read