The tragic loss of Flight Ethiopia 302, which took off from Addis Ababa yesterday (Sunday) before crashing 6 minutes later, has caused an International stir. This is the second disaster in a matter of weeks which included the new Boeing 737 Max-8 series. Ethiopia Airlines immediately grounded their entire fleet of 737 Max-8 series aircraft and many airlines are following suit. However, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), who have the power to ground the planes worldwide, have yet to do so.
China was the first country to ground the aircraft nationwide "until further notice," and claims it will be following the investigation closely. Chinese domestic airlines have 97 373 Max-8 planes which have now all been grounded.
The FAA is closely monitoring developments in the Ethiopian Airlines 302 crash earlier this morning. We are in contact with the U.S State Department and plan to join the NTSB (National Transport Safety Board) in assisting the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authorities to investigate the crash
Yesterday marked the second time in a few short months that a new Boeing aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff. A Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX-8 flight went down over the Java Sea in late last year, killing all 189 people on board.
Fiji Airways, along with a few others, have decided not to ground their fleet of new Boeings, releasing this statement to the media: "We are saddened to hear of the tragic accident involving Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and are closely following the situation. The airline guarantees that its maintenance and training programme for pilots and engineers meet the highest safety standards and that the safety of its passengers and crew always will be the top priority. We have absolute confidence in the Boeing 737 Max-8 and will continue to fly until further notice."
TUI, the only UK airline to order the new Max-8, denied to comment on whether or not they plan to join their competition in grounding the planes pending the investigation of Flight 302. TUI ordered 32 new Max-8 planes and their holding company have ordered a further 58.