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European Aviation Authorities Have Banned the 737 MAX From EU Airspace

March 12, 2019
3 min read
European Aviation Authorities Have Banned the 737 MAX From EU Airspace
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The 737 MAX has been banned from flying in Europe. The European Union's Aviation Safety Agency, EASA, issued on Tuesday a directive "suspending all flight operations of all Boeing Model 737-8 MAX and 737-9 MAX aeroplanes in Europe." Effective Tuesday evening local time, EASA has also suspended "all commercial flights performed by third-country operators into, within or out of the EU of the above mentioned models."

The decision follows hours after the UK Civil Aviation Authority banned 737 MAX aircraft from operating to, from or entering UK airspace. In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration is holding out, and has not issued any directive on the airworthiness of the MAX after two fatal accidents just five months apart.

"The UK Civil Aviation Authority has been closely monitoring the situation, however, as we do not currently have sufficient information from the flight data recorder we have, as a precautionary measure, issued instructions to stop any commercial passenger flights from any operator arriving, departing or overflying UK airspace," the agency said in a statement.

The CAA's directive will be in place until further notice.

As of 1:40pm local time (9:40am ET), three 737 MAX variants were flying over UK airspace. Turkish Airlines Flight 1982 departed from London Gatwick (LGW) for Istanbul (IST) at 1:36pm local time — likely the last departure of a 737 MAX in UK airspace until the directive is lifted.

The move on the part of the CAA follows a growing list of countries and airlines to ban the 737 MAX from its airspace or from landing at or departing from its airports. To this point, that list includes China, Singapore, Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia, as well as SilkAir, GOL, Cayman Airways, Royal Air Maroc and Ethiopian Airlines.

The move could greatly affect the operations of several airlines that fly the MAX into or out of UK airspace — specifically Norwegian and TUI.

TPG received the following statement from Norwegian: "Following the decision by the relevant aviation regulatory bodies to temporarily suspend operations of Boeing 737 MAX, Norwegian will not operate any flights with this aircraft type until further notice. We remain in close dialogue with the aviation authorities and Boeing, and follow their instructions and recommendations."

As expected, the airline is anticipating delays and cancellations to come from the grounding. "We would like to apologise to customers who will be affected by temporary cancellations and delays, but the safety and security of our customers and colleagues will never be compromised, and once authorities advise to cease operations we will of course comply," a spokesperson for the airline told TPG.

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This is a developing story. Stay tuned to TPG for more coverage.