Boeing under scrutiny after two similar crashes in recent months

Boeing is not yet saying whether there is a connection between the two incidents.

March 12, 2019 04:25
1 minute read.
Boeing 737 MAX unveiled (REUTERS/JASON REDMOND)

Boeing 737 MAX unveiled (REUTERS/JASON REDMOND). (photo credit: REUTERS/JASON REDMOND)


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Boeing is under intense scrutiny after a Boeing 737 MAX jet operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed soon after takeoff, marking an almost exact repeat of the crash of a 737 MAX operated by Lion Air in October. In both incidents, all those on the flight were killed.

Boeing is not yet saying whether there is a connection between the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air incidents. Regardless, both crashes were “highly unusual” and had broad similarities in that they both crashed soon after taking off, former NTSB chairman Mark Rosenker told Reuters.

In America, Southwest Airlines is the largest operator of the 737 MAX aircraft, followed by American Airlines. Both companies have stated they are still confident in the aircraft and were closely monitoring this investigation.

The black box recorders from the Ethiopian Airlines flight have still not been recovered. Ethiopian Airlines has a strong reputation and a good safety record, aviation analyst Scott Hamilton said in a blog post. Hamilton cautioned against drawing comparisons between the two crashes since there is so little information available.

Due to the situation, Boeing has delayed the debut event it had planned for its new 777x aircraft and has said it is focused on supporting Ethiopian Airlines.
A Boeing spokesman said there was no delay to the 777x program, according to Reuters.

The cause of the Lion Air crash has still not been determined, but preliminary reports focused on airline maintenance and training, as well as the technical response of the anti-stall system to a recently replaced sensor. Since then, the cockpit voice recorder was recovered and a final report is due later this year.

Following Sunday’s plane crash, which left 157 passengers and crew dead, Air Ethiopia has grounded its Boeing 737 MAX-8 fleet.

“Although we do not yet know the cause of the crash, we decided to land this particular fleet for caution only,” the company said in a press statement.

In the meantime, China’s aviation regulator has ordered Chinese airlines to halt operation of their Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, Reuters reported. It is unclear on what information the country is acting.

Ilanit Chernick contributed to this report.

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