Malaysia bans Boeing 737 Max 8 operations with immediate effect

By TMR / Pic By AFP

The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) has suspended the operations of any Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft flying to and from the country, as well as in transit, effective immediately until further notice.

Its CEO Ahmad Nizar Zolfakar said this is in light of two fatal aircraft accidents involving the Boeing 737 Max 8 in less than five months.

CAAM also clarified that none of the Malaysian carriers operate the Max 8, Ahmad Nizar said in a statement yesterday.

According to a Bernama report, Malindo Air said the carrier does not operate the Boeing 737 Max. In a statement yesterday, the airline said it is now operating 42 aircraft, consisting of 29 Boeing 737NG jets and 13 ATR72-600 jets.

Its CEO Chandran Rama Muthy said Malindo Air will be more diligent in any future plan of aircraft delivery from the Max family.

He also expressed his condolences on the tragic Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday, adding: “Our thoughts and prayers go to those who are affected in the tragedy.”

Malaysia joins numerous countries such as China, Indonesia, Australia and Singapore, which have also suspended the operations of the Boeing aircraft, following the fatal crash of Ethiopian Airlines’ flight ET 302 on Sunday. The 737 Max 8 was en-route to Nairobi from Addis Ababa when it plunged to the ground minutes after taking off, killing all 157 people on board.

The latest crash raises fresh concerns about the safety of the Boeing 737 Max, less than two years after the popular narrow-body aircraft entered commercial service.

Last October, a Lion Air jet of the same model plunged into the Java Sea off the coast of Indonesia, killing all 189 passengers and crew.

China was the first nation to ask its domestic airlines to temporarily ground 737 Max jets, followed by Indonesia. At press time, Oman and the UK have followed suit, as well as several airlines from Mexico, Brazil and South Korea.

US aviation regulators, however, signalled their confidence in the safety of the 737 Max, issuing a global notice of “continued airworthiness” on Monday.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said there isn’t conclusive evidence so far to link the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines’ flight on Sunday to October’s fatal Lion Air tragedy involving the same jet model.

According to a Bloomberg report, the FAA plans to publish a related directive to operators “no later” than April. — TMR