PRETORIA – Comair has decided to remove the 737 MAX 8 from its flight schedule, although neither regulatory authorities nor the manufacturer has required it to do so, executive director of Comair’s airline division Wrenelle Stander said on Monday.
The company said that while it has done extensive preparatory work prior to the introduction of the first 737 MAX 8 into its fleet and remains confident in the inherent safety of the aircraft, it has decided temporarily not to schedule the aircraft while it consults with other operators, Boeing and technical experts.
“The safety and confidence of our customers and crew is always our priority,” Stander said.
The MAX 8 is the latest iteration of the most common commercial aircraft ever manufactured. It is well-established around the world, particularly in the fleets of large carriers in the US.
There are currently more than 370 Boeing 737 MAXs in operation, with 47 airlines. The type operates about 1 500 flights a day and has accumulated over 250 000 flights in total with an excellent record of daily reliability.
Comair earlier expressed its sympathy over the lives lost in the Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 302 tragedy, which saw a Boeing 737 MAX 8 crash near the town of Bishoftu 62km south-east of the capital Addis Ababa on Sunday morning killing all 157 people on board.
The plane, which underwent a routine maintenance check on February 4, was flying from Addis Ababa's Bole International Airport to Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport when it crashed.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE