Uche Usim, Abuja
Following the crash of Ethiopian Airlines’ Boeing 737 Max 8 airplane on Sunday killing 157 persons near Addis Ababa, the United Kingdom Civil Aviation authority has banned all commercial Boeing 737 MAX passenger flights from UK airspace.
With UK taking the lead in the ban, other nations may toe the same path.
The Ethiopian flight 302 was flying from Addis Ababa to Nairobi when it reported technical challenges and immediately sought clearance from air traffic control to make a quick return but eventually crashed within six minutes after takeoff.
The UK CAA said the move was a precautionary measure taken in the interest of safety.
“We have, as a precautionary measure, issued instructions to stop any commercial passenger flights from any operator arriving, departing or overflying UK airspace,” the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said in a statement.
Between Monday and Tuesday, several airlines have announced the grounding of all B737 Max airliners.
Aviation authorities in Singapore, Australia, Malaysia and Oman temporarily suspended Boeing 737 MAX services after Sunday’s MAX 8 flight.
While results of the investigations are awaited, some airlines that have placed orders for the B737 Max airliners are currently monitoring events closely to guide them to either cancel the orders to seek other types of jets or retain the orders.
Unfortunately, this is the second time in less than six months that this model of jetliner has crashed soon after taking off. A new Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX 8 flight went down over the Java Sea off Indonesia last October, killing 189 people.
“Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by the tragic incident in Ethiopia on Sunday,” a CAA spokesperson said in a statement.
“The UK Civil Aviation Authority has been closely monitoring the situation; however, as we do not currently have sufficient information from the flight data recorder, we have, as a precautionary measure, issued instructions to stop any commercial passenger flights from any operator arriving, departing or overflying UK airspace.
“The UK Civil Aviation Authority’s safety directive will be in place until further notice”, it added.
In Nigeria, leading local carrier, Air Peace has firm orders to purchase 10 B737 Max 8.
Spokesman of the airline, Chris Iwarah said the order was still at the design and configuration stage.
According to Iwarah: “Although it is premature to comment on the incidents, we wish to assure members of the flying public that we are closely following and monitoring developments on the issue as an airline that prioritises the safety and well-being of our customers.
“While we keep engaging with our partners in this regard, we repose implicit confidence in Boeing and aviation authorities to capably and satisfactorily address all the issues if at the conclusion of ongoing investigations it is discovered that the challenge is with the B737 Max 8.
“We urge members of the flying public to continue to choose Air Peace as their preferred airline and trust us to always act in their best interest”, he said in a statement.