U.S. says 737 MAX safe to fly after Ethiopia crash; Boeing shares dip
The United States told airlines it was safe to fly 737 MAX 8 planes on Monday as investigators found two black box recorders that will help piece together the final moments of an Ethiopian Airlines jet before it plunged to the ground on Sunday, Trend reports referring to Reuters.
China and Indonesia grounded their fleets of 737 MAX 8 aircraft earlier on Monday, citing safety concerns, contributing to a drop in Boeing Co shares that wiped billions of dollars off the market value of the world’s biggest plane maker.
Investigators in Ethiopia found two black box recorders that will help piece together the final moments of the plane before it plunged, trailing smoke and debris, and crashed killing 157 people.
Late on Monday, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a “continued airworthiness notification” to assure operators of the plane that it was safe to fly. It said it was collecting data on the crash and keeping in contact with international civil aviation authorities and would take immediate action if it identified any safety issues.
The FAA also publicly detailed for the first time a series of design changes and training requirements mandated from Boeing on the MAX fleet after a jet of the same model came down in Indonesia in October and killed 189 people.
“This is welcome information on the enhancements to address shortfalls that our pilots noted after Lion Air, which is a silver lining,” said Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the American Airlines pilot union and a 737 pilot.
Major airlines from North America to the Middle East kept flying the MAX on Monday, though Gol in Brazil joined other smaller carriers in temporarily suspending MAX 8 flights and Argentina’s Association of Airline Pilots ordered its members not to fly the MAX series.
Democratic U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein urged the FAA to ground Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 fleet.
“Until the cause of the crash is known and it’s clear that similar risks aren’t present in the domestic fleet, I believe all Boeing 737 Max 8 series aircraft operating in the United States should be temporarily grounded,” Feinstein wrote.
Southwest Airlines Co, which operates the largest fleet of 737 MAX 8s, said it remained confident in the safety of all its Boeing planes even as it received a rush of queries from customers wanting to know if they were booked to fly on a 737 MAX 8.
“Our customer relations team is responding to these customers individually, emphasizing our friendly, no-change fee policy,” the No. 4 U.S. airline said in a statement.