Ethiopian Airlines announced on Monday, March 11, that they would suspend operation of all Boeing 737 MAX 8 until further notice following the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on Sunday, March 10. The measure was announced Monday morning and was reportedly in effect beginning Sunday. Ethiopian Airlines has four other 737 MAX 8 planes.
Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) directed Chinese national carriers to suspend operation of Boeing 737 MAX 8 by 18:00 (local time) on Monday until further information is available from the crash and from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). According to the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), domestic Chinese carriers use 96 of the 787 MAX 8 planes. Air China, China Eastern, and China Southern operate the largest number of these planes, though the ban will also affect Shanghai Airlines, Xiamen Airlines, Shandong Airlines, Lucky Air, Okay Airways, 9 Air, Fuzhou Airlines, and Kunming Airlines, according to the SASAC report. It is unclear how long the planes may remain grounded; associated flight delays, cancelations, and other disruptions are possible for Chinese and Ethiopian airline flights in the coming days and weeks.
The Caribbean-based Cayman Airways is also reportedly suspending operations of their two 737 MAX 8 planes and may experience similar associated flight disruptions. Other airlines have announced they are "closely monitoring" the situation and further suspensions of operations are possible.
Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 flying from Addis Ababa to Nairobi crashed shortly after takeoff on March 10, killing all 157 people on board. It is not yet known what caused the crash and an investigation is underway. The same model of plane, a Boeing 737 MAX 8, was also involved in a fatal Lion Air crash in October 2018 that killed all 189 people on board. Should it be determined that the two crashes are linked, a more widespread grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX fleet is to be anticipated.
Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor developments to the situation, anticipate possible flight disruptions (including delays and cancelations) in the coming days, and maintain flexible travel itineraries. Contact your airline directly for more information.
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