More countries ground Boeing 737 Max 8 fleets despite US safety guarantee
Published: Mar 12, 2019 12:38 PM

Three Boeing 737-8 aircraft park at the Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport on Monday. Photo: VCG

More countries have grounded Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft in the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines crash, even as US aviation regulators continue to express confidence in the safety of the model.

The crash on Sunday with the loss of 157 lives was the second fatal crash involving the aircraft in five months.  

A total of 23 airlines around the world have suspended flights involving the 737 Max 8 as of 13:00 on Tuesday, accounting for almost half of the carriers among Boeing's 47 customers, according to data from the New York Times. 

Singapore will ground its Boeing 737 Max 8 fleet, which affects Silk Air, with an announcement expected by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore on Tuesday morning, The Straits Times reported on Tuesday.

Two of Latin America's largest airlines - Grupo Aeromexico SAB and Brazil's Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA - said they would also suspend 737 Max flights, Bloomberg reported.

China, one of the largest users of the Boeing 737 Max 8, on Monday ordered all domestic airlines to suspend commercial flights of the model, the first national civil aviation body to make such order. It was followed by Indonesia, Mongolia and Ethiopia.

US aviation regulators still support the continued operational safety of the fleet, issuing a global notice of "continued airworthiness" to the 737 Max 8 jet, a day after the model's second crash happened, according to a file posted on the website of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Monday.   

Boeing said in an announcement Monday that the 737 Max 8 is a safe airplane, and it has been working closely with the FAA on development, planning and certification of the software enhancement, and it will be deployed across the 737 MAX fleet in the coming weeks.

The Lion Air flight crashed on October 29, 2018, also shortly after take-off with the loss of 189 passengers and crew.