11 MARCH 2019
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Concerns over the safety of the new-generation Boeing B737 Max 8 rippled round the world yesterday (10 March) after Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 to Nairobi crashed 6min after take-off from Addis Ababa and full of fuel.
The aircraft was a brand new Max 8 delivered four months ago. Ethiopian, which has five delivered out of 30 on order, said the 149 passengers and eight crew were all killed. Seven Britons were thought to be on board. Boeing said last night it was sending a team to the crash scene.
Last October, a brand new Max 8 operated by Lion Air crashed into the Java Sea near Jakarta shortly after take-off, killing 189. Lion Air has now cancelled a $22bn order for the aircraft.
Last month, the Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) rejected a request by Jet Airways to restore extended range twin engined operations (ETOPS) certification to B737-800s. The certification was withdrawn after the Lion Air crash.
A DGCA official said: "We have rejected Jet Airways’ request … because we are concerned about the performance of the aircraft, and would like operations to continue with restrictions.”
At last count, Boeing had received more than 5,000 orders for the Max series with around 350 delivered. Southwest Airlines in the US is the largest operator, with 250 in the fleet or on order. Other operators include Ryanair, with 135, Norwegian Air Shuttle 110, American Airlines 100, Turkish Airlines 65 and China Southern 50.
Observers stressed last night it was too early to speculate on the cause of the Ethiopian crash.
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