COLOGNE – The Boeing 737 MAX must remain on the ground throughout the European Union for the time being. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is not taking any risk and suspended all flights today, following the Ethiopia crash last weekend that killed 157 people. Switzerland said that it will follow the EASA. It’s the biggest setback yet for the U.S. aircraft manufacturer.
The EASA move came after Britain, Germany, France and the Netherlands joined a wave of suspensions of the aircraft in the wake of Sunday’s crash and put pressure on the United States to follow suit.
Boeing, the world’s biggest aircraft manufacturer – which has seen billions of dollars wiped off its market value – said it understood the countries’ actions but retained “full confidence” in the 737 MAX and had safety as its priority.
Boeing also said the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) had not demanded any further action related to 737 MAX operations.
Democratic U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal asked American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines to voluntarily ground all Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 planes after two deadly crashes in the last 5 months.
“The American aviation industry has a long history of safety and excellence, due in part to the trust passengers and their families can place in the air carriers and operators,” Blumenthal wrote in a letter to the airlines. “The common sense step now – until we have answers – is to ground these planes.”
Earlier today India also grounded their 737 MAX aircraft immediately. “These planes will be grounded till appropriate modifications and safety measures are undertaken to ensure their safe operations,” the ministry said in a Twitter post.
Jet Airways Ltd and SpiceJet Ltd – 2 top Indian airlines – operate Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft.
(Top photo: Paul Thompson on Flickr)