China’s Civil Aviation Administration on Monday ordered Chinese airlines to suspend commercial operation of the Boeing 737 MAX following the Ethiopian Airlines crash and another deadly accident of that same model in Indonesia.
The Chinese government said domestic airlines had until 6pm local time (10:00 GMT) to ground all 737 MAX 8 also called (Boeing 737-8) aircraft saying the operation of the model in the country will only resume after “confirming the relevant measures to effectively ensure flight safety.
“Given that two accidents both involved newly delivered Boeing 737-8 planes and happened during take-off phase, they have some degree of similarity,” China’s Aviation Administration said, adding the order was in line with the country’s principle of zero-tolerance on safety hazards.
The aviation authority said it contact the US Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing citing in its announcement of the grounding that both the Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday and a Lion Air crash in Indonesia in late October had involved very recently delivered Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft that crashed soon after takeoff.
The statement also cited the Kenya-bound Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa on Sunday, killing all 157 people on board, including eight Chinese citizens and the Indonesia Lion Air flight, which crashed after take-off from Jakarta in October, killing all 189 people on board.
Flight tracking websites showed that Chinese airlines were substituting Boeing 737-800s on Monday morning on routes where they had previously operated a Boeing 737 Max 8.
The move was followed by an announcement from Ethiopian Airlines that the company had already grounded its small fleet of Boeing 737 Max 8 jets as an “extra safety precaution” while investigations into the crash continue.
The Ethiopian Airlines incident was the second time in less than six months that a new Boeing aircraft crashed just minutes into a flight. A Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX 8 flight went down over the Java Sea in late October, killing all 189 people on board.