Civil Aviation Authority: All Boeing 737 Max 8 flights to and from Malaysia suspended

The first Boeing 737 MAX 7 is unveiled in Renton, Washington February 5, 2018. — Reuters pic
The first Boeing 737 MAX 7 is unveiled in Renton, Washington February 5, 2018. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 12 — The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia is suspending the operations of Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft flying to or from Malaysia and transiting in Malaysia with immediate effect until further notice.

It also clarified in a statement today that none of the Malaysian carriers operate the Boeing 737 Max 8, which were involved in two fatal aircraft accidents in less than five months.

China was the first to ban all Boeing 737 Max 8 planes yesterday, ordering a dozen carriers to ground 96 planes.

Australia, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Ethiopia, Argentina, Mexico, South Africa, Cayman, Brazil, Argentina, Mongolian, Morocco, India and Indonesia then followed suit.

The move comes after two fairly new Boeing 737 Max 8’s were involved in crashes. The first was in October last year where 189 passengers plunged into the ocean when a Lion Air flight was doubling back to Jakarta.

Flight JT 610 left the Indonesian capital of Jakarta at 6:20am local time headed for the city of Pangkal Pinang on the island of Bangka.

The plane fell into coastal waters off the island of Java about 13 minutes after takeoff. Hours later, all 189 people aboard the flight were feared dead.

Indonesian authorities said the plane was in operation since August.

Then on Sunday, an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 passenger jet to Nairobi crashed, killing all 149 passengers and eight crew.

Sunday’s flight left Bole airport in Addis Ababa at 8:38am (0538 GMT), before losing contact with the control tower just a few minutes later at 8:44am.

Flight ET 302, registration number ET-AVJ, crashed near the town of Bishoftu, 62 kilometres southeast of the capital Addis Ababa.

Passengers from 33 countries were aboard. The dead included Kenyan, Ethiopian, American, Canadian, French, Chinese, Egyptian, Swedish, British and Dutch citizens.

There are some 350 737 Max 8 planes currently in service around the world. The plane is the latest version of the 737, the world’s bestselling modern passenger aircraft and one of the industry’s most reliable.

Air Italy, Oman Air, Turkish Airlines and Russian airline S7 said they were closely following the ongoing investigation into the Ethiopian Airlines crash and were in contact with Boeing, but the aircraft would continue to fly as scheduled.