Global fears grow over Boeing's 737 MAX 8 planes

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 12, 2019 - Duration: 02:09s

Global fears grow over Boeing's 737 MAX 8 planes

Britain joined a growing wave of suspensions of Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft on Tuesday (March 12), along with Norwegian Air and Australia.

Lauren Anthony reports.

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Global fears grow over Boeing's 737 MAX 8 planes

Norwegian Air, the UK and Australia are the latest to ground flights of Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets, after a deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday (March 10) incited fear in the international aviation industry, and saw Boeing's market value plummet by billions of dollars.

It's the second fatal accident involving a 737 MAX aircraft in five months.

Safety experts say it's too early to speculate over what caused Sunday's crash, or whether its linked to the recent tragedy in Indonesia.

Black box recorders were found at the crash site on Monday (March 11), but are yet to yield a cause.

Reuters David Shephardson.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS CORRESPONDENT, DAVID SHEPHARDSON, SAYING: "It's extremely unusual for a brand new plane, this is a plane that's been in service for less than two years, to have two catastrophic failures in such a short period.

But as one official told me today, there are hundreds of reasons why an airplane might crash soon after take off." Norwegian Air, Britain and Australia follow China, Singapore, and others in suspending the aircraft, citing a safety review.

U.S. regulators will order Boeing to make changes to the 737 MAX 8 fleet - but said the plane was airworthy.

Boeing says changes have been in the works since last year, to make quote, "an already safe aircraft even safer." (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS' CORRESPONDENT, DAVID SHEPHARDSON, SAYING: "This is saying, for now, 'Hey, we're working very hard, lets not jump to any hasty conclusions.'

And just one other thing that's raised some questions is that the pilot of the Ethiopian Airlines plane was very experienced, had 8,000 hours of flight time in total.

The first officer only had 200 hours which is a relatively small amount of service for the first officer of a large airplane like this.

So one of the things we're going to learn is who was at the controls." Meanwhile the families of some 157 people who lost their lives are struggling to mourn their loved ones.

The victims came from more than 30 different nations but identifying the dead at the charred site has proven difficult.

Ethiopian Airlines said it would take at least five days to start handing the remains of those killed back to their families.

In reality it could be weeks or months before all victims are identified.

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