The heat is on US manufacturer Boeing after airlines around the world grounded their fleets of the company’s 737 Max 8 jet in the wake of a second fatal crash in less than five months.
Concerns are growing following the 157 lives lost in Ethiopia on Sunday and the 189 who were killed in Indonesia in October.
Singapore yesterday joined neighbour Indonesia by suspending all Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft operations flying in and out of the country, citing the fatal crashes as grounds for the temporary halt.
Regional airline Silk Air, which operates six Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, will be affected by the Singapore announcement, alongside China Southern Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Shandong Airlines and Thai Lion Air.
On Monday, South African airline Comair temporarily grounded its Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane.
“Comair has decided to remove its 737 MAX 8 from its flight schedule, although neither regulatory authorities nor the manufacturer required it to do so,” the airline said.
The British Airways franchisee also operates as low-cost carrier Kulula.
China announced on Monday that its aviation authority had grounded all Boeing 737 Max jets, pending further investigation, as did Cayman Airways.
Chinese airlines have 96 Boeing 787 Max 8 in use, says the Civil Aviation Administration of China.
Ethiopian Airlines, the company involved in Sunday’s crash and Africa’s largest carrier, said on Monday it had grounded its fleet of four of the jets.
Mexican airline Aeromexico said it had decided to temporarily suspend the operation of its six jets pending the outcome of investigations into the accident.
Meanwhile, Argentina’s pilots’ association advised its members not to pilot any of the five airliners in Aerolineas Argentinas’ fleet until the jets’ safe operation could be guaranteed.
Despite the concerns, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Monday opted not to order the grounding of all Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets flown by US airlines.
“This investigation has just begun and to date we have not been provided data to draw any conclusions or take any actions,” the FAA said.
There are 387 Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets in operation at 59 airlines worldwide.
The FAA said that it had completed a number of actions following the crash in Indonesia, including issuing an airworthiness directive in November and reviewing Boeing’s production processes. dpa African News Agency (ANA)