Carriers in Ethiopia, China and the Cayman Islands have suspended the use of the Boeing 737 Max 8 jets, following the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash on March 10 that led to the loss of 157 lives.
With the same jet design having crashed in October 2018 killing all 189 people on board, it means that the Boeing 737 Max 8 has so far claimed 346 lives.
The Boeing 737 Max 8 is a relatively new aircraft, having first flown commercially in May 2017. A new Max is priced at around Ksh5.4 billion.
Comparisons between the two plane crashes in October 2018 and March 2019 show some similarities, with Indonesia’s Lion Air crash occurring 12 minutes after take off before plunging into the sea. The Ethiopian Airlines crash occurred six minutes after take off.
On Monday, Ethiopian Airlines issued a bulletin on Twitter that said, “Following the tragic accident of ET 302 … Ethiopian Airlines has decided to ground all B-737-8 MAX fleet effective yesterday, March 10, until further notice.”
The state-owned airline added that although the reasons for the tragic crash had yet to be identified, the move to suspend the Boeing 737 Max 8 had to be taken as “an extra safety precaution.”
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Prior to Ethiopian Airlines, the aviation administration in China as well as the Cayman Airlines had also suspended the Boeing 737 Max 8.
China said it made the decision “in view of the fact that the two air crashes were newly delivered Boeing 737-8 aircraft” and that both crashes had “certain similarities.”
UK’s The Guardian said that two Chinese Airliners had said they had started using the Boeing 737-800 aircraft instead of the Max 8.
The Lion Air crash saw fatalities suffered to three nationalities. Indonesia suffered the most at 187 deaths, including 38 civil servants, three police officers and 10 state officials. The other nationalities were India and Italy.
Ethiopian Airlines claimed lives from at least 35 nationalities, with 32 Kenyans among the fatalities. Journalist Anthony Ngare, former Kenya football administrator Hussein Swaleh and two Kenya Airports Authorities officials were among the passengers.
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