The Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 bound for Nairobi crashed minutes after take-off on Sunday, leaving 157 people dead.

Reuters (Reuters)

The crash of the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 on Sunday has raised serious safety questions after becoming the second deadliest accident the aircraft model has suffered within six months. The plane involved in Sunday’s crash was only four months old when it took off from Addis Ababa for Nairobi.

China's aviation regulator says it has grounded almost 100 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft that were operated by its airlines on Monday. Ethiopian Airlines and Cayman Airways have also grounded their jets

The 737 MAX 8 had another deadly crash just six months ago, plunging into the ocean 13 minutes after take-off from Jakarta, leaving all 189 passengers and crew dead. It was operated by Indonesian budget carrier Lion Air.

By the end of January, 350 Boeing 737 MAX 8 had been delivered to customers, with a further 4,754 on order. There are no reports of other airlines or regulators grounding the aircraft. 

Boeing said it will postpone Wednesday's planned ceremonial debut of the 777x in Seattle after Sunday's crash. The company said it is now focused on 'supporting' the Ethiopian Airlines.

Should the safety of Boeing 737 MAX 8 be questioned?

The Ethiopian Airlines plane, which crashed six minutes after take-off, was only four months old. In the accident on March 10, the victims represented more than 33 nations, including 22 members of United Nations' staff.

As China grounded the 737 MAX 8 jets, the US said they are unsure what information China was acting on.

Since there is no further information about the cause of the Ethiopian crash, US officials said there are no plans from their side to ground the 737 MAX 8 jets. Moreover, US officials said that the 737 MAX 8 had a stellar safety record in the United States.

Chinese aviation expert Li Xiaojin said the grounding was “reasonable and justified”. He also said that he did not anticipate a major issue since Chinese airlines operated fewer than 100 of the craft, compared with a combined fleet of more than 2,000 planes.

Global reaction to the second deadly crash

Indonesia said it would monitor its airlines operating the 737 MAX 8, including Lion Air and Garuda Indonesia. It did not mention any plan to ground the planes.

US operators, Southwest Airlines Co and American Airlines Group Inc said they remained fully confident in the aircraft, yet were still following the investigation closely.

According to information given on Boeing Co's website, Turkish Airlines has ordered forty 737 MAX 8 aircrafts. So far Turkish Airlines has not released a statement.

Singapore Airlines Ltd, whose regional arm Silk operates the 737 MAX 8, said that it is monitoring the situation closely, but its jets will continue to operate as scheduled.

South Korea is conducting an emergency inspection on two Eastar Jet 737 MAX 8 planes, the transport ministry said.

Fiji Airways and flydubai said they were confident in the airworthiness of their 737 MAX 8 fleets.

Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd said it was too early to comment on the Ethiopian crash or its effect on the thirty 737 MAX 8 jets it has ordered. Air Niugini, which has ordered four jets, said it had “full confidence” in the Boeing product.

Ethiopia has declared Monday a day of mourning. 

Source: TRT World