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More Airlines and Countries Join Growing List of Those to Ground 737 MAX

March 11, 2019
4 min read
More Airlines and Countries Join Growing List of Those to Ground 737 MAX

One day after the tragic crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, more airlines and countries are suspending operations of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. On Monday, both Ethiopian Airlines and the Indonesian government have announced the grounding of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

Ethiopian Airlines issued the following bulletin at 7:08am local time (12:08am ET):

"Following the Tragic accident of ET 302/10 March B-737-8 MAX (ET-AVJ), Ethiopian Airlines has decided to ground all B-737-8 MAX fleet effective yesterday, March 10, 2019 until further notice.
Although we don't yet know the cause of the accident, we had to decide to ground the particular fleet as extra safety precaution."

The decision comes after Ethiopian Flight 302 crashed just after taking off from Addis Ababa. The aircraft operating the flight to Nairobi was registered as ET-AVJ, which was delivered to and began operating for Ethiopian in November 2018.

In addition to Ethiopian's announcement of the grounding of the 737 MAX aircraft in its fleet, Indonesia's director general of aviation said on Monday that the country will temporarily ground 737 MAX aircraft operating in the country.

"One of the steps that is being taken by the air transport directorate is conducting an inspection by temporarily grounding (Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes), to ensure that this type of aircraft is airworthy," Polana Pramesti, Indonesia's director general of aviation, said in a statement.

Beginning Tuesday, 737 MAX aircraft operating in Indonesia will start to undergo inspection. In the country, only 11 737 MAX aircraft are in operation: 10 with Lion Air and one with Garuda Indonesia. Indonesia was the site of the first of catastrophic 737 MAX crashes to happen in the past five months with Lion Air Flight 610, killing all 189 people on board.

Earlier on Monday local time, the Chinese government grounded 737 MAX aircraft flying in the country. In China, about 75 737 MAX are in operation, operated by a number of airlines including Air China, China Eastern, China Southern, Shanghai Airlines, Xiamen Air, Shandong Airlines and Shenzhen Airlines.

"Given that two accidents both involved newly delivered Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes and happened during take-off phase, they have some degree of similarity," the Civil Aviation Administration of China said in a statement.

Additionally, Cayman Airways announced that in the aftermath of Sunday's ET302 crash, it would suspend the operation of both of its 737 MAX 8 aircraft effective March 11 and until more information is received. There were reports Monday that future Oneworld member Royal Air Maroc also indefinitely suspended all of its MAX 8 operations. TPG reached out to the airline to confirm but has not yet received a response.

Also on Monday, South African airline Comair, which operates as a British Airways franchise airline, said it had grounded its sole 737 MAX 8.

Several carriers that operate the aircraft in their fleets have issued statements that they will continue to operate the MAX. Flydubai told Reuters that the carrier is "monitoring the situation," and remains confident in the airworthiness of its 737 planes. TUI Group, Norwegian, SilkAir, Southwest and Air Italy have all said they'll continue to operate the aircraft.

For more information, read TPG's full coverage of the Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX crash and aftermath:

Featured image by Stephen Brashear