The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) has barred all Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft from operating in Malaysian airspace with immediate effect until further notice. This includes inbound, outbound and transit flights involving the aircraft.
CAAM also clarified that no Malaysian carrier have the 737 Max 8 aircraft in service.
The dealiest 737
Launched in 2011, the 737 Max 8 is one of Boeing’s latest aircraft to go into commercial service. 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 widely regarded as one of the industry’s most reliable.
The 737 Max 8 first went into commercial service in May 2017 under Malindo Air. Since then, the 737 Max 8 has come under close scrutiny after the plane was involved in two fatal crashes within just five months of each other.
The latest of which is Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 that crashed approximately six minutes after take off killing all 149 passengers and 8 crew members on board.
The first 737 Max 8 crash happened in October 2018, when Lion Air Flight 610 crashed 13 minutes after take off from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta killing all 189 passenger and crew on board. The plan had attempted to return to Jakarta but crashed en-route. Lion Air Flight 610 is the deadliest crash involving a 737 to date.
on March 11, the United States Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) commented that the Boeing 737 Max 8 model was airworthy. However, due to concerns on the operation of the aircraft, the FAA ordered Boeing to implement design changes, effective by April.
It stated that Boeing “plans to update training requirements and flight crew manuals in response to the design change” to the aircraft’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). The changes will also include enhancements to the activation of the MCAS and the angle of attack signal. Boeing stated that the upgrade was developed in response to the Lion Air crash but did not link it to the Ethiopian Airlines crash
China was the first to ban all Boeing 737 Max 8 aircrafts, ordering a dozen carriers to ground a total of 96 planes.
Australia, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Ethiopia, Argentina, Mexico, South Africa, Cayman, Brazil, Argentina, Mongolian, Morocco, India and Indonesia have also since then grounded all 737 Max 8 aircraft that are in service. The European Aviation Safety Agency has also banned the aircraft from operating in its airspace.
Other airlines, however, continued to operate. 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 carriers will continue to operate 737 Max 8 in their fleet.
Similarly, in the United States, the FAA has declined to ground the aircraft saying in a review that there are “no systemic performance issues” and no basis for grounding the aircraft.