Wednesday, 13 March 2019

The US FAA grounds Boeing 737 Max aircraft...finally.

Photo Boeing
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has finally called for all Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 to be grounded in the US following the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air crashes in the last six months.

The FAA is virtually the last major national aviation authority in the world to ground the twinjets in the wake of the two disasters. The FAA has stated that all U.S.-registered Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, including the 8 and 9 variants, be grounded as a precautionary measure.

One of the leading operators of the type in the US is American Airlines that flies 24 Max 8 aircraft which operate an average of 85 flights per day between them. The airline once again boasted of its "utmost confidence" in the Boeing 737 Max, despite a number of its pilots expressing unease about continuing to operate the twin-jet.

American also said ''the safety and security of our team members and our customers remains our top priority.'  and will comply with the FAA's grounding instructions. "American is working in close coordination with our union partners, the Department of Transportation, FAA, National Transportation Safety Board and other regulatory authorities, as the safety of our team members and customers is always our number one priority".

Photo Southwest
Another large operator of the type in the US is the industry-leading low-cost-carrier, Southwest Airlines that has 34 MAX 8 in its fleet, which it has now removed from scheduled service. The airline said that it has a fleet of more than 750 other varieties of 737 and the Max variety operates less than 5% of its daily flights.

In a statement issued in the afternoon of Wednesday 13th March, the company confirmed it had, "Been in constant contact with the FAA and Boeing since Ethiopian Airlines' accident last Sunday. While we remain confident in the MAX 8 -  we support the actions of the FAA and other regulatory agencies and governments across the globe that have asked for further review of the data – including information from the flight data recorder – related to the recent accident involving the MAX 8. The Safety of our Customers and Employees is our uncompromising priority, and today's action reflects the commitment to supporting the current investigations and regulatory concerns."

The airline has said that any Customer booked on a cancelled MAX 8 flight can rebook on alternate flights without any additional fees or fare differences within 14 days of their original date of travel between the original city pairs. 

Photo Southwest
"During our 48-year history, Southwest has continuously demonstrated our commitment to Safety," said Gary Kelly, Southwest's Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. "We sincerely appreciate the trust our Customers and Employees place in our airline every day, and the Southwest Team is working diligently to minimise disruptions to our Customers' travel plans."