Airlines ground Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes as safety precaution

Ethiopia, China and Indonesia have grounded their Boeing 737 MAX 8 fleets on Monday, a day following the disaster that killed 157 people on the board of an Ethiopian Airlines plane, news wires reported. It was the second tragedy involving the same Boeing model in just over four months, after a crash in Indonesia in late October.

Ethiopian Airlines said in a statement it was grounding the planes as an "extra safety precaution." China announced that its aviation authority had grounded all Boeing 737 Max jets, pending further investigation. Chinese airlines have 96 Boeing 737 MAX 8 in use, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China. Indonesia also decided to ground all 11 of its planes, the Transportation Ministry announced. The flagship carrier of the Cayman Islands, an autonomous British territory in the Caribbean, likewise grounded its 737s after Sunday's crash. The Boeing 737 MAX 8 from the US aviation giant entered service in 2017.

The Nairobi-bound plane went down shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa on Sunday. The airline had bought the new plane in November, and the plane had flown only 1,200 hours since its purchase and was last maintained on 4 February. Shortly after take-off, the senior pilot, who had been working for the airline since 2010, sent a distress call and was given clearance to return.

The 157 people on the aircraft were of 35 different nationalities, and the search for human remains continued on Monday. Nineteen UN staff were among the dead. A UN environmental conference is starting in Nairobi this week. UN flags were flying at half-mast on Monday, which the Ethiopian government has declared a day of national mourning.

Later on Monday Ethiopian Airlines officials announced that the black box from the crashed plane was found, but it was partially damaged.


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