Airlines Ban Boeing 737 Max 8 After Ethiopia Crash

Nearly 160 people died after a fatal airplane crash near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Mar. 10. The aircraft, owned by Ethiopian Airlines, reported technical issues upon takeoff and crashed moments later.

The plane was a recently released Boeing model, specifically, the 737 Max 8, which was used commercially beginning in 2017. Some countries, including China, have grounded all Max 8 aircraft within their boundaries. New questions about safety have risen after the incidents.

In a press conference, the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, Tewolde GebreMariam, discussed the details behind the ongoing investigation. “As it is a fresh incident, we have not been able to determine the cause,” GebreMariam stated. “As I said, it is a brand new airplane with no technical remarks, flown by a senior pilot and there is no cause that we can attribute at this time.”

Major airlines in Brazil, China, Ethiopia, Indonesia and Mexico have temporarily grounded the 737 Max 8 aircraft. The Cayman Airlines in the Caribbean and Comar in South Africa have also suspended the model.

This was not the first crash of a 737 Max 8. In October of 2018, a Lion Air Jet crashed into the Java Sea after takeoff in Indonesia. Although no direct connections have been drawn between the incidents, the two plane crashes occurred within a six month period, a short enough time frame to cause investigation.

The Chinese government defended its actions and raised questions over flight safety. “Given in both air crashes the aircrafts were newly delivered Boeing 737 Max 8, and both incidents occurred during the takeoff, they share certain similarities,” the administration stated in a press release.

Passengers from over thirty countries had boarded the Ethiopian airplane. Nineteen United Nations officials, the co-founder of an international aid organization and a third-year student at Georgetown Law were among the 157 victims of the crash.

Boeing faces scrutiny from the incident and has subsequently delayed the release of its 777X jetliner. As the two crashes have caused doubt over Boeing’s safety standards, shares in the company have dropped eight percent on Wall Street.

As all Chinese airlines have grounded Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, Boeing may face a huge threat in the market. More than a quarter of the 737 Max 8 models were purchased by Chinese airlines. Chinese aviation is a major sector for Boeing. The current suspension of the Max 8 models may hurt this market in the future.