Boeing 737 Max 8 banned from operating in or over UK airspace following Ethiopian crash

Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737
Ethiopian Airlines 737. Photo: Pedro Aragão (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Following Sunday’s tragic plane crash in which 157 people lost their lives, the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has banned the Boeing 737 MAX 8 from operating in or over UK airspace “as a precautionary measure”.

There are currently five 737 MAX aircraft registered and operational in the United Kingdom. A sixth was planned to commence operations later this week.

The move, which was welcomed by British pilots, follows was the second fatal accident involving the 737 Max 8 model in less than five months and sees the UK join Australia, China, Singapore and Malaysia in grounding the jets.

A spokesperson for the UK Civil Aviation Authority said: “Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by the tragic incident in Ethiopia on Sunday.

“The UK Civil Aviation Authority has been closely monitoring the situation, however, as we do not currently have sufficient information from the flight data recorder we have, as a precautionary measure, issued instructions to stop any commercial passenger flights from any operator arriving, departing or overflying UK airspace.

“The UK Civil Aviation Authority’s safety directive will be in place until further notice.

“We remain in close contact with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and industry regulators globally.”

Tui Airways and Norwegian both operate the Boeing Max 8 in the UK as part of their fleets.

Earlier, the father of British UN worker Joanna Toole, who was killed in the Ethiopian Airlines crash, called on the British government to ground Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 planes.

Speaking to the Telegraph newspaper, Adrian Toole said the aircraft should be banned from the skies until the cause of the disaster is discovered.

MrToole, urged air safety chiefs in Britain and other countries to “take no risks”, adding that the government “should put people before profits.”

“If there’s any question about the safety of this plane then they should all be grounded. Not just in Britain but around the world. We wouldn’t want any risk of other families going through what we are going through,” he added.

Kenyan Cabinet Secretary James Macharia has also published a press release in which he assures families and relatives of victims of the air crash that the government are “making all necessary arrangements to facilitate them to travel to Addis Ababa as required by Annex 9 of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).”

He goes on to state that “no Kenyan Air Operator has in the fleet the affected aircraft type known as the Boeing B737MAX. In addition, no foreign carrier is currently operating the aircraft type in Kenyan airspace.”

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