On Tuesday, March 12, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announced the suspension of flight operations involving Boeing Model 737 MAX 8 and Model 737 MAX 9 airplanes across Europe from 19:00 (UTC) until further notice. The directive applies to the European Union's 28 member states, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. The announcement comes after the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on Sunday, March 10, which killed all 157 people onboard the Boeing Model 737 MAX 8 aircraft; the crash prompted aviation authorities from several countries to suspend flight operations involving the aircraft from their respective airspace. Airlines in multiple countries have grounded flights slated to use Boeing Model 737 MAX-type aircraft. Many are conducting inspections of their 737 MAX fleets and are awaiting further reports of the Flight 302 investigation. Significant associated flight disruptions - including delays, cancelations, and reroutes - are to be expected.
In the US, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a notice of Continued Airworthiness to the International Community (CANIC) on Monday, March 11, for all 737 MAX-type aircraft, reaffirming the fleet's airworthiness.
The following countries, in addition to those under the jurisdiction of EASA, have temporarily banned Boeing Model 737 MAX-type aircraft from their respective airspace:
In addition to carriers under the jurisdiction of the EASA and the countries listed above, the following countries and airlines have grounded their Boeing 737 MAX planes:
- Argentina - Aerolineas Argentinas (five planes)
- Brazil - GOL (seven planes)
- Cayman Islands - Cayman Airways (two planes)
- China - 102 planes total on 9 Air (three planes), Air China (15 planes), China Eastern (three planes), China Southern (26 planes), Fuzhou Airlines (two planes), Hainan Airlines (11 planes), Kunming Airlines (two planes), Lucky Air (three planes), OKAir (two planes), Shandong Airlines (seven planes), Shanghai Airlines (12 planes), Shenzen Airlines (six planes), Xiamen Air (10 planes)
- Ethiopia - Ethiopian Airlines (four planes)
- Indonesia - Garuda (one plane), Lion Air (10 planes)
- Mexico - Aeromexico (six planes)
- Mongolia - MIAT Mongolian Airlines (one plane)
- Morocco - Royal Air Maroc (one plane)
- South Africa - Comair (one plane)
- South Korea - Eastar Jet (two planes)
- TUI (16 planes)
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.
Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor developments to the situation, anticipate flight disruptions (including delays and cancelations) over the coming days, and maintain flexible travel itineraries. Contact your airline directly for more information.
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