Airlines in multiple countries have suspended the use of Boeing’s new 737 MAX 8 aircraft over concerns about its safety, after an Ethiopian Airlines flight of the same model crashed Sunday killing all 157 people on board.
It is the second time in six months a 737 MAX 8 has crashed in the first few minutes of flight, following Lion Air flight JT610 which crashed shortly after departing from Jakarta on 29 October. Questions have now resurfaced about the safety of the plane, which entered service in May 2017.
Flight ET302 to Nairobi had just taken off from the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa Sunday when it reported technical problems and asked for permission to turn back. It crashed shortly afterwards.
As the crash investigation got underway, the Civil Aviation Administration of China ordered Monday that all domestic Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets be out of the air by 6 p.m. local time, due to its principle of “zero tolerance for safety hazards.”
China has one of the world’s largest fleets of Boeing 737 MAX 8, operating 97 of the planes, according to Chinese state-run media.
Shortly after this Ethiopian Airlines announced it too was grounding its B-737-8 MAX fleet until further notice.
Ethiopian State media have also reported that the black box from the flight that crashed on Sunday has now been recovered by investigators.
The crash happened at 08:44 local time, six minutes after the months-old Boeing 737 Max-8 took off. It was en route from Addis Ababa to the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, and all 157 people on board the flight were killed.
Experts have warned it is too early to say what caused the disaster.