March 11 (UPI) — The Chinese government has grounded all domestic Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft Monday, after an Ethiopian Airlines’ jet of the same make crashed, killing everyone on board.
The Civil Aviation Authority of China issued the notice Monday morning that all 96 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft in the country would be out of commission before 6 p.m. that night.
On Sunday, an Ethiopian Airlines’ jet crashed minutes after takeoff, killing all 157 on board, the second such accident involving a new 737 Max 8 in less than six months. In October 2018, an Indonesian Lion Air jet crashed about 13 minutes after takeoff, killing 189 people on board.
“In view of the fact that the two air crashes are newly delivered Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, and they all occur in the take-off phase, they have certain similarities,” China’s civil aviation administration said.
Following the crash Sunday, Boeing said it was “deeply sadden” by the accident and extends its “heartfelt sympathies to the families and loved ones” of those who passed in the accident.
“A Boeing technical team will be traveling to the crash site to provide technical assistance under the direction of the Ethiopia Accident Investigation Bureau and U.S. National Transportation Safety Board,” it said in a statement.
China’s suspension follows Cayman Airways suspending the use of its two new Boeing 737 Max 8 jets until further notice.
“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,” Cayman Airways President and CEO Fabian Whorms said in a statement.
Whorms said that the suspension will cause schedule and flight capacity changes over the next few days.
More than 300 Boeing 737 Max 8 jets are in operation with 5,000 more ordered worldwide since 2017, the Guardian reported.