China leads grounding of Boeing 737 Max 8 following latest crash
Chinese authorities have suspended the use of the Boeing 737 Max 8 by domestic carriers following the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines aircraft over the weekend.
Flight ET302 crashed at 08:44 on Sunday, just six minutes after it left Addis Ababa.
The aircraft, bound for Nairobi, came down near the town of Bishoftu, 60 kilometres south-east of the capital, with no survivors reported.
Passengers from more than 30 countries were on board the flight, including 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians and seven Britons.
It was the second fatal accident involving the aircraft type following its launch in 2017, prompting authorities to act.
A Lion Air plane came down shortly after take-off from Indonesian capital, Jakarta, in October with the loss of all 189 people on board.
Around 80 Boeing 737 Max 8 planes have been delivered to about a dozen Chinese airlines, including Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines.
This amounts to around 20 per cent of the currently operational global fleet.
Several North American airlines also operate the aircraft.
Southwest Airlines flies 31, while American Airlines and Air Canada each have 24 in their fleet.
Following the latest crash, both Ethiopian Airlines and carriers in the Cayman Islands have also suspended the use of the aircraft.
The official cause of both the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air Boeing 787 Max 8 crashes remain under investigation.
However, following the Lion Air crash last October, investigators said preliminary findings suggested pilots had struggled with an automated system designed to keep the plane from stalling.
This is a new feature of the Boeing 737 Max 8.
More than 300 Boeing 737 Max 8 planes are in operation.
A further 5,000 have been ordered worldwide in what had been considered a successful launch for Boeing.
In a statement Boeing said it was “deeply saddened” to learn of the passing of the passengers and crew on Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302.
“A Boeing technical team will be travelling to the crash site to provide technical assistance under the direction of the Ethiopia Accident Investigation Bureau and United States National Transportation Safety Board,” the statement added.