Chinese press reported that Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) officials banned the use of Boeing 737 MAX planes on Sunday, March 10, following the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight earlier that day. Chinese airlines reportedly fly approximately 70 of the planes. According to Boeing, the following airlines operate the 737 MAX: Air China, China Southern, China Eastern, Hainan Airlines, Shandong Airlines, Shenzen Airlines, and Xiamen Airlines. It is unclear how long the planes may remain grounded; associated flight delays, cancelations, and other disruptions are possible for Chinese airline flights in the coming days and weeks.
Cayman Airways also stated they were suspending the use of Boeing 737 MAX planes effective Monday, March 11. The Caribbean airline operates two of the planes. Other airlines are reportedly monitoring the situation but will continue to operate the single-aisle jets at this time, including Singapore Airlines, SilkAir, Korean Air, Icelandair, and Southwest Airlines.
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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