The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on Tuesday suspended all Boeing 737 MAX operations in Europe as a precautionary measure following Sunday’s fatal crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa. The suspension was issued in an emergency airworthiness directive (AD) that went into effect at 1900 UTC and is applicable to both the 737 MAX 8 and 9 models.
A number of civil aviation authorities (CAAs), including those in China, Ethiopia, the U.K., France, Germany, Indonesia, Australia and Singapore, have taken similar action, and more than one of these referenced the late October crash of Lion Air Flight 610, also operated with a 737 MAX 8, in explaining its decision.
Shane Carmody, CEO and director of aviation safety with Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority, said, “[I]n light of the two recent fatal accidents, the temporary suspension of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft operations was in the best interests of safety. This is a temporary suspension while we wait for more information to review the safety risks of continued operations of the Boeing 737 MAX to and from Australia.”
CAAs also said they were suspending 737 MAX operations while awaiting more information. “The U.K. 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 U.K. airspace,” the CAA said in a statement today.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), in suspending operation of all variants of the 737 MAX into and out of Singapore in light of the Ethiopian and Lion Air accidents, said, “During the temporary suspension, CAAS will gather more information and review the safety risk associated with the continued operation of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft into and out of Singapore. CAAS is closely monitoring the situation and is in close communication with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration [FAA] and other aviation regulators, as well as Boeing.”
The FAA, however, has not take any action to restrict operation of the aircraft. Late Monday, FAA, noting that “external reports” were drawing similarities between the two accidents involving the same model aircraft, said that the investigation into Sunday’s accident was still in its early stages “and to date, we have not been provided data to draw any conclusions or take any actions” regarding the 737 MAX 8 and 9 fleets.
“The FAA has dispatched personnel to support the investigative authorities in determining the circumstances of this event,” FAA said in message to CAAs known as a Continued Airworthiness Notification to the International Community. “All data will be closely examined during this investigation, and the FAA will take appropriate action if the data indicates the need to do so.”
Boeing Tuesday released the following statement: “Safety is Boeing’s number one priority and we have full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX. We understand that regulatory agencies and customers have made decisions that they believe are most appropriate for their home markets. We’ll continue to engage with them to ensure they have the information needed to have confidence in operating their fleets. [FAA] is not mandating any further action at this time, and based on the information currently available, we do not have any basis to issue new guidance to operators.”
Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 crashed shortly after takeoff. All 157 passengers and crew were killed. Lion Air Flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea shortly after takeoff from Jakarta-Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Indonesia on Oct. 29. All 189 passengers and crew were killed.