On Sunday an Ethiopian Airline using the Boeing Max 8 crashed killing all 157 people on board. Since then Singapore and Australia’s aviation authorities have temporarily banned the Boeing 737 Max aircraft from flying in and out of their countries. This was the second fatal accident involving the Boeing Max 8 model in less than five months.
Singapore’e Airport ‘Changi’ is the sixth busiest airport in the world and a major hub connecting Asia to Europe and the US. They currently only have a handful of airlines that operate using a Boeing Max aircraft. In Australia there is currently no national airlines using the Boeing model 737 Max but two foreign airlines – Silkair and Fiji Airways – fly this model into the country.
Shane Carmody, who is in charge of aviation safety at Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority, said the suspension would remain in place while the organisation awaited “for more information to review the safety risks”.
Several airlines across the world have temporarily banned the Boeing Max 8 model following the latest crash. South Korea has asked Easter Jet, the only airline in their country to fly Max 8s, to ground its planes from Wednesday until further notice according to the AFP news agency.
Will there be disruption?
Singapore’s aviation authority said the affected airlines include SilkAir, which operates six Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, as well as China Southern Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Shandong Airlines and Thai Lion Air. Changi airport and the airlines are working together to ensure there is a minimal impact on passengers however experts have said disruption is highly likely.
Aviation consultant Ian Thomas said: “This is sure to lead to significant flight cancellations and disruption to schedules as the airlines involved switch to other aircraft types (assuming they are available).” Some flights have been cancelled already but it is not confirmed that this is due to the suspension of the plane.
In the US, the country’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) told airlines on Monday it believes Boeing’s 737 Max 8 model to be airworthy, despite the two fatal crashes. Southwest, which has the largest fleet of 737s in the US, said it was offering customers booked on flights using the jet the chance to change their reservation, but would not be offering refunds.