Grounding 737 MAX: Here is what regulators and airlines have done so far

After the unfortunate incident of the Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX crash earlier this week, the second in a spate of 5 months for newly inducted aircraft, I wrote about my thoughts on the aircraft and the safety around it yesterday.  The FAA, which is the USA’s aviation regulator, has maintained a stance that the 737 MAX was still an airworthy aircraft. There are 387 worldwide Boeing 737 MAX 8 registered aircraft globally, across 59 operators.

a group of airplanes in the sky

3D imagery, 737 MAX, MAX, 737 MAX 7, 737 MAX8, 737 MAX 9

However, airlines and aviation regulators have been swift to err on the side of caution, and many aviation bodies have grounded the aircraft till they have a further sense of what is happening and how does Boeing intend to fix this problem. Here is a quick roundup of the action on the Grounding 737 MAX has resulted.

  • Civil Aviation Safety Authority of Australia has suspended the 737 MAX aircraft from flying to or from Australia.
  • Aerolineas Argentinas has temporarily suspended operations of the five 737 MAX 8 aircraft in its fleet.
  • Aeromexico, which operates a fleet of 6 737 MAX 8 aircraft, has grounded their fleet temporarily.
  • Cayman Airways was the first airline to take action and had grounded its fleet of two 737 MAX 8. Like I mentioned yesterday, the airline had just taken delivery of their second MAX 8, and it was still not inducted into commercial service.
  • Chinese Civil Aviation Administration had yesterday grounded all the 737 MAX 8 aircraft which belong to a Chinese carrier, until further notice. Over 100 aircraft from the following airlines were impacted:
    • 9 Air
    • Air China
    • China Eastern Airlines
    • China Southern Airlines
    • Fuzhou Airlines
    • Hainan Airlines
    • Kunming Airlines
    • Lucky Air
    • OKAir
    • Shandong Airlines
    • Shanghai Airlines
    • Shenzhen Airlines
    • Xiamen Air
  • Comair, which is the South African franchise of British Airways, has grounded their sole 737 MAX 8 aircraft. The second one is still in Seattle, getting ready for delivery to the carrier.
  • Ethiopian Airlines has grounded its remaining fleet of four 737 MAX 8 aircraft pending investigations.
  • GOL Linhas Aéreas of Brazil has grounded their seven 737 MAX fleet.
  • Indonesian Civil Aviation Authority ordered the grounding of all Indonesian airlines’ operated 737 MAX aircraft, which has led to the grounding of 10 Lion Air aircraft and 1 Garuda Indonesia.
  • MIAT Mongolian Airlines grounded the sole 737 MAX 8 in their fleet.
  • Royal Air Maroc, which has two MAX aircraft in its fleet, has grounded it’s sole (in service) 737 MAX aircraft.
  • Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore has placed a halt on the operation of the Boeing 737 MAX through Singapore on March 12, 2019. This order applies not just to domestic carriers (Silk Air), but international airlines operating to Singapore, such as those from China, Indonesia and Thailand.
  • SilkAir, following the CAAS order, has grounded its fleet of 6 737 MAX 8 aircraft.
  • Jet Airways had already grounded their 737 MAX aircraft on account of financial issues at the airline, not related to the crash.

Update 2200 IST

  • Icelandair has grounded its 3 active 737 MAX 8 aircraft. The 4th has been delivered to the airline.
  • Ireland’s IAA has stopped the arrival, departure or overflying of the 737 MAX over Irish airspace.
  • Malaysia has stopped the 737 MAX overflights in its airspace. No Malaysian carrier operates the Boeing 737 MAX 8.
  • Norwegian has grounded its fleet of 18 MAX aircraft.
  • Oman Authority for Civil Aviation has temporarily suspended operations of 737 MAX aircraft in and out of Oman.
  • OmanAir has grounded its fleet of 5 737 MAX 8 aircraft as a consequence of the direction from Oman ACA.
  • South Korea has advised its airlines not to operate the 737 MAX.
  • Eastar Jet of Korea has two 737 MAX 8 at the moment.
  • TUI has grounded its fleet of 16 737 MAX aircraft
  • UK Civil Aviation Authority has halted operations to and through UK Airspace. This would impact Air Canada and Turkish Airlines apart from other airlines enlisted above.
  • France & Germany has prohibited the use of their airspace by the 737 MAX aircraft.
  • Turkish Airlines will ground their 12 737 MAX aircraft fleet from tomorrow onwards.
  • Austria and The Netherlands have banned the 737 MAX from their airspace.
  • Poland’s LOT Polish Airlines has grounded its fleet of Boeing #737MAX jets.

Ryanair has told Reuters that no immediate action is planned on 737 MAX orders. It is being reported that one of the biggest customers of the 737 MAX, LionAir, is now considering suspending their order. They announced that they are suspending the delivery of the four aircraft scheduled to come in this year.

Major Airlines which are still operating the 737 MAX aircraft are:

  • Oman Air
  • SpiceJet
  • FlyDubai
  • American Airlines
  • Norwegian
  • Turkish Airlines
  • S7
  • TUI
  • LOT Polish
  • IcelandAir
  • Air Canada
  • WestJet
  • Southwest

The Federal Aviation Authority of USA has outlined the changes to be made to the 737 MAX 8 aircraft following these incidents.

Boeing’s completion of the flight control system enhancements, which provide reduced reliance on procedures associated with required pilot memory items. The FAA anticipates mandating these design changes by AD no later than April 2019.

Design changes include: MCAS Activation Enhancements, MCAS AOA Signal Enhancements, MCAS Maximum Command Limit

There has been no statement made by SpiceJet, which is the only airline in India, continues to operate the 737 MAX 8. Here is their statement.

The Boeing 737 Max is a highly sophisticated aircraft. It has flown hundreds of thousands of hours globally and some of the world’s largest airlines are flying this aircraft. We are actively engaged with both Boeing and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and will continue to put safety first, as always. We have already implemented all additional precautionary measures as directed by the DGCA yesterday.

What do you think about this issue? How are you dealing with your upcoming 737 MAX 8 flights?

About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. Scheduled to fly back to Vancouver
    on a Boeing 737 max. Really feel strong that all 737 max jets in Canada should be grounded until they figure out what happened. Will it take another crash until we learn our lesson. It’s all about money and profits folks

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