Airlines ground Boeing 737 MAX 8 fleet following fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash

Aviation Updates Philippines – Several airlines worldwide opted to ground their entire Boeing 737 MAX 8 fleet as a precautionary measure after the recent crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft operating as flight ET-302 from Addis Ababa to Nairobi on Sunday.
GROUNDED. A Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft (registry B-1200) of China Southern Airlines is seen idling at the international ramp of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 following the recent mandate of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) which suspended all MAX operations in China. Photo from Daniel Joshua Ting Hernandez – PPSG.
Media outlets have reported that Ethiopian Airlines, currently operating a fleet of five of the said aircraft type, has already cancelled all operations involving the aircraft pending investigation from authorities.

A similar move was made by Cayman Airways, one of the newest 737 MAX operators. According to a press release from the airline, they are already closely monitoring the progress of the investigation together with The Boeing Company and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands (CAACI).

"While the cause of this sad loss is undetermined at this time, we stand by our commitment to putting the safety of our passengers and crew first by maintaining complete and undoubtable safe operations, and as such, we have taken the decision to suspend operations of both our new Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, effective from Monday March 11, 2019, until more information is received," Cayman Airways President and Chief Executive Officer Fabian Whorms stated.

On the other hand, China also mandated the suspension of all Boeing 737 MAX 8 operations in their country following reports of the recent crash, including LionAir flight JT-610 in October last year.

Since Monday evening, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) ordered the immediate grounding of the said aircraft. China is one of the world's largest operators of the MAX series, with 97 of the type currently in operation prior to the mishap.

In the Philippines, both Cebu Pacific Air and Philippine Airlines assured the flying public that they do not operate the involved aircraft type. The current active Boeing aircraft in the country is of PAL which is a Boeing 777-300ER (not similar to the MAX series).

"We have no Boeing aircraft, and certainly no 737 in the Cebu Pacific fleet," Cebu Pacific spokesperson Charo Logarta told ABS-CBN News.

"We do not have such type of aircraft on our fleet," Philippine Airlines spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said.

Singapore Airlines' regional subsidiary, SilkAir, said that it is continuing its Boeing 737 MAX 8 operations as scheduled throughout its route network. However, it emphasized that it is closely monitoring developments since the crash.

"The safety of our passengers and crew is of utmost importance to SilkAir. At this point SilkAir’s 737 MAX 8 flights are operating as scheduled," a spokesperson from Singapore Airlines told Channel News Asia.

The crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET-302 is the second fatal air disaster involving the all-new Boeing 737 MAX 8 series since the crash of LionAir flight JT-610 in Indonesia, killing 189 people on-board. Although both crashes, through initial speculations, have quite similar behavior before impact, the official cause is most likely to remain unknown until the official report arrives.