Boeing 737 MAX groundings

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Boeing 737 MAX groundings
Boeing 737-8 MAX N8704Q rotated.jpg
Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft in Boeing livery (July 2016)
Date March 11, 2019 (2019-03-11) – ongoing (13 days)
Cause Crashing of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and Lion Air Flight 610, causing 346 fatalities within five months.

In March 2019, the Boeing 737 MAX passenger airliner was grounded by airlines and governments worldwide following two crashes within five months that killed all 346 people onboard both flights. On October 29, 2018, Lion Air Flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea twelve minutes after takeoff with 189 passengers and crew. On March 10, 2019, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed six minutes after takeoff with 157 passengers and crew.

On March 11, Ethiopian Airlines announced it had grounded its 737 MAX 8 fleet "effective yesterday March 10".[1][2] On March 11, the China Civil Aviation Administration, citing its zero-tolerance policy for any safety hazards, became the first government authority to ground its 737 MAX 8 aircraft.[3][4] Shortly after, the aircraft was grounded in Indonesia, Mongolia, Singapore and other countries, either voluntarily by airlines or by order of government.[5]

In the U.S., the Federal Aviation Administration initially stated it had not received any evidence to justify taking action against the 737 MAX. On March 13 President Trump announced the U.S. would ground the aircraft, and the FAA explained that new information about the similarity of the two crashes supported the government's decision. The agency said there was a "possibility of a shared cause" for the accidents.[6][7][8] Panama's aviation authority became the last to ground their fleet. Several countries not served by the 737 MAX fleet imposed an airspace ban on the aircraft, effectively barring newly produced aircraft from leaving the factory.[9][10][11][12][13][14][15] The worldwide fleet of 737 MAX aircraft at the time of the FAA grounding was 387.[16]

In each accident, the aircraft involved was less than four months old. Satellite tracking data showed similar flight profiles, which indicated that soon after takeoff both airplanes pitched down multiple times and experienced extreme fluctuations in upward and downward speed, as the pilots evidently struggled for control. Both pilots radioed their intention to return to the airport.[17][18] Attention quickly focused on an automated anti-stall flight control system ("MCAS") newly introduced on the 737 MAX.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Inspector General opened an investigation into the FAA's approval of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft series; the probe focuses on potential failures in the FAA's safety-review and certification process. The day after the Ethiopian Airlines crash, a federal grand jury issued a subpoena on behalf of the U.S. Justice Department for documents related to development of the 737 MAX.[19]

Background

737 MAX design

The Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) was developed for the 737 MAX to prevent stalls in flaps-retracted, low-speed, nose-up flight.[20] The MCAS uses airspeed and other sensor data to make an attempt at computing when a dangerous condition has developed and then trims the aircraft nose down.[21]

Boeing 737 MAX aircraft have engines mounted higher and further forward than previous 737 models. According to The Air Current, "the relocated engines and the refined nacelle shape" cause an upward pitching moment. In order to pass Part 25 certification requirements, Boeing employed the MCAS to automatically apply nose-down trim when the aircraft is in steep turns or in low-speed, flaps-retracted flight. When the angle of attack (AOA) exceeds a limit that depends on airspeed and altitude, the system activates without notice to the pilot. The system is temporarily deactivated when a pilot trims the aircraft using a switch on the yoke.[21]

Because the system is sensitive to failure of one of the two AOA sensors mounted on the aircraft's exterior,[21] two optional features were added: in-cabin displays of the two AOA readings, and an audible AOA-disagree alert system, which Boeing and the FAA decided was not critical for safe operation.[22] Following the crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 soon after takeoff, for which several technical experts implicated the MCAS,[23] Boeing announced a planned software upgrade that notifies pilots of a sensor failure.[24][25] It will be deployed to aircraft operators "in the coming weeks", the company said on March 11, 2019.[24]

Lion Air Flight 610 crash

PK-LQP, the aircraft involved in the crash of Flight 610

On October 29, 2018, Lion Air Flight 610, a scheduled domestic flight operated by the Indonesian airline Lion Air from Soekarno–Hatta International Airport in Jakarta to Depati Amir Airport in Pangkal Pinang, crashed into the Java Sea 12 minutes after takeoff. All 189 passengers and crew were killed in the accident.[26][27][28][29]

The preliminary report tentatively attributed the accident to the erroneous AoA data and automatic nose-down trim commanded by MCAS.[30][12]

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash

ET-AVJ, the aircraft involved in the crash of Flight 302

On March 10, 2019, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a scheduled international passenger flight operated by Ethiopian Airlines from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya, crashed six minutes after takeoff near Bishoftu, killing all 157 passengers and crew aboard the aircraft.[31][32][32][33][34]

Initial reports indicated that the Flight 302 pilot struggled to control the airplane in a manner similar to circumstances of the Lion Air crash.[35] A stabilizer trim jackscrew found in the wreckage of Ethiopian flight 302 was set to put the aircraft into a dive.[36] Experts suggested this evidence further pointed to MCAS as at fault in the crash.[37][38] After the crash of flight ET302, Ethiopian Airlines spokesman Biniyam Demssie said in an interview that the procedures for disabling the MCAS were just previously incorporated into pilot training. "All the pilots flying the MAX received the training after the Indonesia crash," he said. "There was a directive by Boeing, so they took that training."[39] Ethiopia's transportation minister, Dagmawit Moges said that initial data from the recovered flight data recorder of Ethiopian flight 302 shows "clear similarities" with the crash of Lion Air flight 610.[40]

Pilot complaints

In addition to the crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, Boeing 737 MAX pilots in the United States registered several complaints about the way the jet performed in flight, including reports that pilots in the United States may have experienced similar issues to what happened in the Lion Air crash.[41] Several reports were filed in the Aviation Safety Reporting System in November 2018, including one where the captain "expressed concern that some systems such as the MCAS are not fully described in the aircraft Flight Manual."[42]

On March 13, 2019, it emerged that pilots on at least two 2018 flights in the U.S. filed safety concerns after the nose of a 737 MAX pitched down suddenly when they engaged the autopilot.[43] In response, the FAA made a statement, "Some of the reports reference possible issues with the autopilot/autothrottle, which is a separate system from MCAS, and/or acknowledge the problems could have been due to pilot error."[44] MCAS only activates if the autopilot is turned off.[45] Boeing had advised pilots to disengage autopilot in nose-down incidents, though MCAS initiates nose-down in response to stall incidents.[46][47]

Response

Timeline of regulatory responses

March 11

  • China: The Civil Aviation Administration of China orders all domestic airlines to suspend operations of all 737 MAX 8 aircraft by 18:00 local time (10:00 GMT), pending the results of the investigation, thus grounding all 96 Boeing 737 MAX planes in China.[48][3]

March 12

  • Singapore: the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, "temporarily suspends" operation of all variants of the 737 MAX aircraft into and out of Singapore.[55]
  • India: Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) released a statement "DGCA has taken the decision to ground the 737 MAX aircraft immediately, pursuant to new inspections.[56]
  • Turkey: Turkish Civil Aviation Authority suspended flights of 737 MAX 8 and 9 type aircraft being operated by Turkish companies in Turkey, and stated that they are also reviewing the possibility of closing the country's airspace for the same.[57]
  • Europe: The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is suspending all flight operations of all 737-8 MAX and 737-9 MAX aeroplanes in Europe. In addition EASA has published a Safety Directive, effective as of 19:00 UTC, suspending all commercial flights performed by third-country operators into, within or out of the EU of the above mentioned models[58]
  • United States: The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an affirmation of the continued airworthiness of the 737 MAX; major United States-based 737 MAX operators Southwest Airlines and American Airlines also expressed confidence.[59]
  • Canada: Minister of Transport Marc Garneau said it was premature to consider groundings and that, "If I had to fly somewhere on that type of aircraft today, I would."[60]

March 13

  • Canada: Minister of Transport Marc Garneau, prompted by receipt of new information,[61] said "There can't be any MAX 8 or MAX 9 flying into, out of or across Canada", effectively grounding all 737 MAX aircraft in Canadian airspace.[62]
  • United States: President Donald Trump announced on March 13, that United States authorities would ground all 737 MAX 8 and 9 aircraft in the United States.[63][64] After the President's announcement, the FAA officially ordered the grounding of all 737 MAX 8 and 9 operated by U.S. airlines or in the United States airspace.[65]
  • Vietnam: Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam banned 737 MAX 8 flights in its airspace until further notice. Vietnam operates no 737 MAX aircraft, and at the point of the issuing, all carriers operating 737 MAX aircraft for services to Vietnam had already grounded the model.[66]
  • Panama: The Civil Aviation Authority grounded its aircraft.[9][10][11]

In-flight effect

About 30 of the 737 MAX aircraft were flying in U.S. airspace when the FAA grounding order was announced. The airplanes were allowed to continue to their destinations and were then grounded.[67] In Europe, several flights were diverted when grounding orders were issued.[68][69] For example, an Israeli-bound Norwegian Airlines 737 MAX aircraft returned to Stockholm, and two Turkish Airlines MAX aircraft flying to Britain, one to Gatwick Airport south of London and the other to Birmingham, turned around without landing and flew back to Turkey.[70][71] Relocating aircraft grounded in the U.S. to a service facility can be performed under an FAA special flight permit,[72] also known as a "ferry" permit, and flights might be subject to certain restrictions, the most obvious being no passengers, but may also require additional pre-flight inspection.[73]

Boeing response

In its first public statement after the second crash, the company said: "Boeing is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the passengers and crew on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a 737 MAX 8 airplane. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew on board and stand ready to support the Ethiopian Airlines team. A Boeing technical team will be traveling to the crash site to provide technical assistance under the direction of the Ethiopia Accident Investigation Bureau and United States National Transportation Safety Board."[74]

Subsequently, in response to the grounding of the 737 MAX by non-U.S. countries and airlines, Boeing stated: "We have engaged our customers and regulators on concerns they may have — and would refer you to them to discuss their operations and decisions. Safety is our number one priority and we are taking every measure to fully understand all aspects of this accident, working closely with the investigating team and all regulatory authorities involved. The investigation is in its early stages, but at this point, based on the information available, we do not have any basis to issue new guidance to operators."[75] The company said "in light of" the crashes it would postpone the public rollout ceremony for the first completed Boeing 777X which had been scheduled for March 13.[76]

On March 11, Boeing announced that it had been working on upgrades to the MCAS flight control software, cockpit displays, operation manuals and crew training. Boeing said the upgrades were partly in response to the Lion Air crash, but not linked to the Ethiopian Airlines crash, and were to be deployed in coming weeks and to be made mandatory by an FAA Airworthiness Directive.[77] The FAA stated it anticipated clearing the software update by March 25, 2019, allowing Boeing to distribute it to the grounded fleets.[78]

On March 11, Boeing issued a statement saying that pilots can always use trim to override the flight control law, and that both the Flight Crew Operations Manual and the November 6 bulletin detail procedures for handling incorrect angle-of-attack readings.[79] In the 737 Flight Crew Operations Manual Quick Reference Handbook, the trim instructions are under the MAX 8 aircraft runaway stabilizer checklist and filed under "additional information". [80] Based on satellite tracking data, aviation experts believe the MCAS system may have been deployed erroneously during both crashes.[81] On March 12, Boeing announced that it had been working on a flight control software upgrade for the 737 MAX fleet, partly in response to the Lion Air crash, that includes updates to the MCAS flight control law, pilot displays, operation manuals and crew training. The upgrade is to be deployed in "the coming weeks", and is expected to be made mandatory by April by an FAA airworthiness directive.[82]

On March 13, in response to the FAA grounding the MAX aircraft, Boeing released another statement: "Boeing continues to have full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX. However, after consultation with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and aviation authorities and its customers around the world, Boeing has determined — out of an abundance of caution and in order to reassure the flying public of the aircraft's safety — to recommend to the FAA the temporary suspension of operations of the entire global fleet of 371 737 MAX aircraft."[83]

On March 14, Boeing confirmed continued production of the 737 MAX series aircraft but halting deliveries to its customers.[84]

Political response

As countries and airlines outside the U.S. began grounding their aircraft, the FAA issued a “continued airworthiness notification” to all global 737 MAX operators, stating that, to date, it had no evidence from the crashes to justify regulatory action regarding the aircraft.[85] Several western media outlets, including the Financial Times, New York Times, Fox News, and CNBC, questioned China's motives for grounding the aircraft by suggesting the action was either "politically motivated" or that China was "potentially benefiting from the grounding".[86][87][49][88][89]

On March 12 President Trump tweeted: "Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly. Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT. I see it all the time in many products. Always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simpler is far better."[90] After the tweet, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg spoke by telephone with the president and gave assurances that the aircraft was safe.[91][92]

On March 13, with mounting pressure after the grounding of the aircraft by Canada,[64] Trump met Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Acting Administrator of the FAA Daniel Elwell, and Muilenburg and agreed to ground the aircraft. The president said, "The FAA is preparing to make an announcement very shortly regarding the new information and physical evidence that we've received from the Ethiopia crash site and from other locations and through a couple of other complaints".[93][8]

The government has faced questions about the lack of a permanent administrator at the FAA since January 2018, two years of staff and budget cuts at the agency, and the recent government shutdown that delayed approval of a software upgrade for the 737 MAX after the Lion Air crash. The FAA responded that it is "under the strong leadership" of its acting head,[94] and Elwell said the shutdown "did not cause any delay in work on the software."[95] The 737 MAX controversy shed more light on Boeing's political influence in Washington, including lobbying efforts, donations to lawmakers and ties between government and industry.[96][97][98]

U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren, Mitt Romney, Dianne Feinstein, Ted Cruz, Roger Wicker and Richard Blumenthal earlier were calling for the FAA to temporarily ground all 737 MAX 8 jets.[99][100][101] Ted Cruz and Roger Wicker announced their plans to hold a hearing at the United States Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security "to investigate these crashes, determine their contributing factors, and ensure that the United States aviation industry remains the safest in the world."[101] Elizabeth Warren accused the Trump administration of protecting Boeing, saying: "The Boeing 737 MAX 8 is a major driver of Boeing profits. In the coming weeks and months, Congress should hold hearings on whether an administration that famously refused to stand up to Saudi Arabia to protect Boeing arms sales has once again put lives at risk for the same reason."[102]

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who has the authority to suspend the 737 MAX 8, previously said that "If the FAA identifies an issue that affects safety, the department will take immediate and appropriate action."[100] On March 12, Chao and her staff flew on a Southwest Airlines 737 MAX 8 from Austin, Texas, to Washington, D.C., in an apparent act of support for the Boeing Company.[103]

On March 13, Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau reversed his decision not to ground the aircraft and banned all 737 MAX 8/9 aircraft from Canadian airspace.[104] He earlier had said he would board 737 MAX 8 "without hesitation",[105] and on March 12 had said that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government had no plans to ground the 737 MAX 8.[106] The Canadian Union of Public Employees had called on Air Canada "to at a minimum continue to offer reassignment to crew members who do not want to fly on this type of airplane. The safety of passengers and crews must be the absolute priority."[106]

Certification inquiry

The day after the Ethiopian Airlines crash, a subpoena was issued by a U.S. grand jury.[107][108] On March 19, 2019, the Department of Transportation requested the Office of Inspector General to conduct an audit on the 737 MAX certification process[109] and Congress also announced an investigation into the same process.[110] The FBI has joined the criminal investigation into the certification as well.[111][112]

On March 17, 2019, The Seattle Times reported that an investigation it conducted raised concerns about certification of MCAS five days before the Ethiopian Airlines crash.[113] The report stated:

  • The FAA routinely delegates a degree of safety analysis to the manufacturer,[114] but some FAA insiders felt delegation of certification had gone too far. Sources at the agency said they were repeatedly pressured to delegate to Boeing, which was under commercial pressure from Airbus and needed the 737 MAX to be certified quickly.
  • MCAS failure was potentially rated incorrectly as "hazardous" rather than "catastrophic". The system relied on a single sensor, an unusual and inappropriate design for the lower rating, and certainly incorrect if failure should have been rated catastrophic.
  • By the time the 737 MAX was operational, MCAS could command stabilizer deflection more than four times greater than certified. Regulators and airlines were only informed of the greatly increased capability after the Lion Air crash.
  • Safety analysis appeared to overlook that MCAS could reset itself and repeatedly pitch the aircraft down.
  • MCAS was supposed to operate only in "extreme" situations, so "Boeing decided that 737 pilots needed no extra training on the system — and indeed that they didn't even need to know about it. It was not mentioned in their flight manuals." Minimizing pilot training was a big saving for aircraft customers and "a key selling point" for the 737 MAX.[113]

United States Air Force KC-46 tanker review

On March 22, 2019, the USAF announced it is reviewing the KC-46 tanker training after the MAX 8 groundings, as the KC-46 uses a similar MCAS system. The KC-46 is based on the Boeing 767-2C and not on the Boeing 737 MAX, but they share the similar MCAS system, and unlike the 737 MAX, the KC-46 System is not single sensor based and has a dual sensor reading, and the KC-46’s system is “disengaged if the pilot makes a stick input” “The KC-46 has protections that ensure pilot manual inputs have override priority.” "The USAF does not fly the models of aircraft involved in the recent accidents, but we are taking this opportunity to exercise due diligence by reviewing our procedures and training as part of our normal and ongoing review process"[115]

Groundings by countries/regions and airlines

Countries/regions

As a result of the Flight 302 accident, aviation authorities and airlines began grounding the Boeing 737 MAX due to safety concerns.[116] The list below is as of March 18, 2019 (sorted by country/region):

Authority Date
(2019)
Comments
Civil Aviation Authority (Albania) Albania March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace.[117]
Directorate of Civil Aviation and Meteorology (Algeria) Algeria March 18 737 MAX banned from airspace.[118]
National Civil Aviation Administration (Argentina) Argentina March 17 737 MAX banned from airspace.[119]
Civil Aviation Committee (Armenia) Armeniar March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace.[120]
Civil Aviation Safety Authority (Australia) Australia March 12 Grounded all 737 MAX in the country.[121][122]
Ministry of Transport (Austria) Austria March 12 Grounded all 737 MAX in the country.[123]
Civil Aviation Authority, Bangladesh Bangladesh March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace.[124]
Department for Aviation (Belarus) Belarus March 14 737 MAX banned from airspace.[125]
Federal Public Service Mobility and Transport (Belgium) Belgium March 12 737 MAX banned from airspace.[126]
Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority Bermuda March 12 737 MAX banned from airspace.[127]
Directorate of Civil Aviation (Bosnia and Herzegovina) Bosnia and Herzegovina March 14 737 MAX banned from airspace.[128][129]
National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil Brazil March 13 Grounded the 737 MAX-8 in the country.[130]
Department of Civil Aviation of Brunei Brunei March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace.[131]
Civil Aviation Administration (Bulgaria) Bulgaria March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace.[132]
Transport Canada Canada March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace.[104]
Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands Cayman Islands March 12 737 MAX banned from airspace.[133]
Directorate General of Civil Aviation (Chile) Chile March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace.[134]
Civil Aviation Administration of China China March 11 Grounded all 737 MAX in the country.[48][3][135]
Special Administrative Unit of Civil Aeronautics (Colombia) Colombia March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace.[136]
Dirección General de Aviación Civil (Costa Rica) Costa Rica March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace.[137]
Department of Civil Aviation (Cyprus) Cyprus March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace.[138]
Danish Transport Authority Denmark March 13 Grounded all 737 MAX in the country.[139]
Djibouti Civil Aviation Authority Djibouti March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace [140]
Ministry of Civil Aviation (Egypt) Egypt March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace.[141]
Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority (Ethiopia) Ethiopia March 14 737 MAX banned from airspace.[142]
Equatorial Guinea Civil Aviation Authority Equatorial Guinea March 12 737 MAX banned from airspace [143]
European Aviation Safety Agency European Union March 12 737 MAX aircraft banned from airspace.[144][145][146] This covers the European Union and the member countries of EFTA.
Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji Fiji March 12 Operation of 737 MAX suspended.[147]
Directorate General for Civil Aviation (France) France March 12 737 MAX banned from airspace.[148]
Agence Nationale de l'Aviation Civile du Gabon Gabon March 14 737 MAX banned from airspace [149]
Civil Aviation Authority (Georgia) Georgia (country) March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace.[150]
Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (Germany) Germany March 12 737 MAX banned from airspace.[151]
Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority (Greece) Greece March 12 737 MAX banned from airspace.[152]
Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil (Guatemala) Guatemala March 15 737 MAX banned from airspace [153]
Civil Aviation Department (Hong Kong) Hong Kong March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace.[154]
Ministry of Civil Aviation (India) India March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace.[155]
Ministry of Transportation (Indonesia) Indonesia March 11 737 MAX banned from airspace.[156]
Iran Civil Aviation Organization Iran March 15 737 MAX banned from airspace.[157]
Iraq Civil Aviation Authority Iraq March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace.[158]
Irish Aviation Authority Republic of Ireland March 12 737 MAX banned from airspace.[159]
Civil Aviation Authority of Israel Israel March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace.[160]
Italian Civil Aviation Authority Italy March 12 737 MAX banned from airspace.[145]
Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority Jamaica March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace [161]
Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (Japan) Japan March 14 B737 MAX flights to Japan banned.[162]
Civil Aviation Committee (Kazakhstan) Kazakhstan March 14 737 MAX flights suspended.[163]
Ministry of Information, Communications, Transport and Tourism Development (Kiribati) Kiribati March 14 737 MAX banned from airspace [164]
Civil Aviation Authority of Kosovo Kosovo March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace.[165]
Directorate General of Civil Aviation (Kuwait) Kuwait March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace.[166]
Lebanese Civil Aviation Authority Lebanon March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace.[167]
Civil Aviation Authority (Macau) Macau March 13 Operation of 737 MAX suspended.[168]
Civil Aviation Agency (North Macedonia) Republic of Macedonia March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace.[169][170]
Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia Malaysia March 12 Operation of 737 MAX suspended.[171][172]
Directorate General of Civil Aeronautics (Mexico) Mexico March 14 737 MAX banned from airspace.[173]
Civil Aviation Authority (Moldova) Moldova March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace.[174]
Civil Aviation Agency (Montenegro) Montenegro March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace.[175]
Namibia Civil Aviation Authority Namibia March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace.[176]
Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (Netherlands) Netherlands March 12 737 MAX banned from airspace.[177][146]
Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand New Zealand March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace.[178]
Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority Nigeria March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace.[179]
Directorate General of Civil Aviation and Meteorology (Oman) Oman March 12 Operation of 737 MAX suspended.[180][181]
Civil Aviation Authority (Panama) Panama March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace.[182]
Civil Aviation Safety Authority (Papua New Guinea) Papua New Guinea March 14 737 MAX banned from airspace.[183]
Dirección Nacional de Aeronáutica Civil (Paraguay) Paraguay March 15 737 MAX banned from airspace.[184]
Civil Aviation Authority (Poland) Poland March 12 737 MAX banned from airspace.[185]
National Institute of Civil Aviation of Portugal Portugal March 12 737 MAX banned from airspace.[186]
Romanian Civil Aeronautical Authority Romania March 12 737 MAX banned from airspace.[187]
Federal Air Transport Agency (Russia) Russia March 14 737 MAX banned from airspace.[188]
Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority Rwanda March 14 737 MAX banned from airspace. [189]
Agence Nationale de l'Aviation Civile et de la Météorologie (Senegal) Senegal March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace [190]
Civil Aviation Directorate of the Republic of Serbia Serbia March 14 737 MAX banned from airspace.[191]
Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority Seychelles March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace [192]
Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore Singapore March 12 737 MAX banned from airspace.[55]
Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (South Korea) South Korea March 14 737 MAX banned from airspace.[54]
Civil Aeronautics Administration (Taiwan) Taiwan March 14 737 MAX banned from airspace.[193][194]
Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand Thailand March 13 Operation of 737 MAX suspended.[195]
Trinidad and Tobago Civil Aviation Authority Trinidad and Tobago March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace.[196]
Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure (Turkey) Turkey March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace.[197]
State Aviation Administration of Ukraine Ukraine March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace.[198]
General Civil Aviation Authority (UAE) United Arab Emirates March 12 737 MAX banned from airspace [199]
Civil Aviation Authority (United Kingdom) United Kingdom March 12 737 MAX banned from airspace.[200][201]
Federal Aviation Administration (United States) United States March 13 737 MAX banned from airspace.[202][203]
National Civil Aviation and Aviation Infrastructure Direction (Uruguay) Uruguay March 18 737 MAX banned from airspace [204]
Civil Aviation Agency of Uzbekistan Uzbekistan March 13 737 MAX barred from airports [205]
Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam Vietnam March 12 737 MAX banned from airspace.[206][207]

Airlines

After the Ethiopian Air crash, airlines grounded all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft series in their fleets. List is ordered by operator name and is current as of 16:00 UTC, March 17 2019[208] (includes pre-delivered aircraft located at Boeing Field, Renton Municipal Airport and Paine Field airports):

Airline Date Fleet size Remarks
9 Air March 12 3 [208]
Aerolíneas Argentinas March 11 5 [208][209][210]
Aeroméxico March 12 6 [208][211]
Air Canada March 13 24 [208][212]
Air China March 11 15 [208]
Air Italy March 12 4 [208]
American Airlines March 13 25 [208]
Cayman Airways March 11 2 [208][213]
China Eastern Airlines March 11 3 [208]
China Southern Airlines March 11 24 [208]
Comair March 11 2 [208][214]
Copa Airlines March 13 6 [208][215][10][11]
Corendon Airlines March 12 1 [208]
Eastar Jet March 11 2 [208]
Enter Air March 12 2 [208]
Ethiopian Airlines March 11 4 [208][216][217]
Fiji Airways March 12 2 [208]
Flydubai March 12 15 [208][218]
Fuzhou Airlines March 11 2 [208]
Garuda Indonesia March 11 1 [208]
Gol Transportes Aéreos March 11 7 [208][219][220]
Hainan Airlines March 11 11 [208]
Icelandair March 12 6 [208][221]
Jet Airways March 12 8 [208][222]
Kunming Airlines March 11 2 [208]
Lion Air March 11 10 [208]
LOT Polish Airlines March 12 5 [208][223]
Lucky Air March 11 3 [208]
Mauritania Airlines March 12 1 [208][224]
MIAT Mongolian Airlines March 11 1 [208][225]
Norwegian Air International March 12 9 [208][226]
Norwegian Air Shuttle March 12 6 [208]
Norwegian Air Sweden March 12 3 [208]
Okay Airways March 11 2 [208]
Oman Air March 15 5 [208][227]
Royal Air Maroc March 11 2 [208][228]
S7 Airlines March 12 2 [208][229]
Samoa Airways Unknown 1 [208]
SCAT Airlines March 13 1 [208]
Shandong Airlines March 11 7 [208]
Shanghai Airlines March 11 12 [208]
Shenzhen Airlines March 11 6 [208]
SilkAir March 12 6 [208]
Smartwings March 12 8 [208]
Southwest Airlines March 13 34 [208]
SpiceJet March 13 13 [208][230]
Sunwing Airlines March 12 4 [208][231]
Thai Lion Air March 13 3 [208]
TUI Airways March 12 6 [208]
TUI fly Belgium March 12 4 [208]
TUI fly Deutschland Unknown 1 [208]
TUI fly Netherlands March 12 3 [177]
TUI fly Nordic March 12 2 [208]
Turkish Airlines March 12 14 [208][57]
United Airlines March 13 14 [208]
WestJet March 13 13 [208]
XiamenAir March 11 10 [208]
Total 393

Financial impact

Airline demands for compensation

On March 13, Norwegian Air became the first airline publicly demanding compensation from Boeing for the costs of the groundings of the 737 MAX. CEO Bjørn Kjos said, "It is quite obvious we will not take the cost related to the new aircraft that we have to park temporarily, we will send this bill to those who produce this aircraft."[232] India's SpiceJet also announced that they will seek compensation from Boeing. A senior official said, "We will seek compensation from Boeing for the grounding of the aircraft. We will also seek recompense for revenue loss and any kind of maintenance or technical overhaul that the aircraft will have to undergo. This is part of the contract, which we signed with Boeing for all the 737 MAX aircraft".[233]

Litigation on behalf of deceased passengers

Unlike the maximum claim by a passenger against an airline, which is limited by international treaty, claims directed against the manufacturer are not subject to a preset limit. In addition to other claims, representatives of passengers on flight 302 may be able to argue that Boeing knew (or should have known, or contemplated) the risk of a crash, from knowledge of the MCAS system and previous issues, including the earlier Lion Air crash, potentially opening a route to punitive damages.[234]

The United States has a wide ranging legal structure for damages claims that is expansive and often plaintiff-friendly. According to lawyers involves in passenger claims, Boeing may therefore attempt to argue that claims on behalf of deceased passengers should be heard in other countries.[234]

Order cancellations

As of March 2019, Boeing had 4,636 unfilled orders worldwide for the 737 MAX.[235] On March 14, Indonesian flag carrier Garuda Indonesia announced the cancellation of 49 orders for the aircraft, citing "concerns on the safety of passengers".[236] Garuda stated that it was talking to Boeing about whether or not to return the single aircraft already received, and considering replacing the 737 MAX order with a different Boeing model, not necessarily replacing Boeing as its supplier.[237] Bloomberg News reported that Lion Air plans to drop a $22 billion order with Boeing in favor of Airbus aircraft[238] and that the 737 MAX's problems put $600 billion in orders at risk.[239] Boeing suspended deliveries of 737 MAX aircraft to customers, but did not halt production of the aircraft. Analysts estimated that each month of the grounding could result in a delay of $1.8 billion in revenue to the company.[240] Boeing shares lost 11% of their value in the week leading up to March 14.[239] On March 22 Garuda Indonesia confirmed the cancellation of its orders of the 737 MAX, with spokesperson Ikhsan Rosan telling CNN, "Our passengers have lost confidence to fly with the Max 8." This is the first confirmed cancellation of a 737 MAX order as a result of the two crashes.[241][242] Boeing lost more than $40 billion as a result of the cancellation.[243]

Return to service

International agreements allow for aviation regulatory agencies worldwide to certify an aircraft type based on the certification of the regulatory agency where the aircraft is built, and do not review those certifications in much detail.[244] In this case the Boeing 737 MAX series is certified by the United States FAA, and a return to service locally and internationally requires updated certification by the FAA first.[244] The European Aviation Safety Agency and Transport Canada announced they will do their own safety verifications before letting the 737 MAX fly again in their territories, and will no longer accept the United States FAA certification as is for this aircraft.[244] Around March 20, 2019, Boeing announced it would make an additional safety feature on the plane model standard.[245]

See also

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External links

  • List of global aircraft groundings in history
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