The European Union and India have banned the Boeing 737 Max from flying over their airspace to ensure passenger safety. In doing so, they joined a long list of countries in suspending the plane. The ban comes after an Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed on Sunday, killing 157 people on board. This was the second fatal accident involving the 737 Max 8 model in less than five months. Germany, France, Britain, Netherlands, Ireland, Australia, China, Singapore, New Zealand, Malaysia, Oman and Indonesia have all suspended all use of the plane.
The decision could disrupt travel not only through the heart of Europe but well beyond, as many commercial flight routes go over European Union territory. Still, the extent of the disruption is unclear.
But US and
Canada are still holding out on a ban right now. Two United States airlines fly the 737 Max 8: Southwest has 34 and American 24. Both have said they have analyzed data from their thousands of flights with the planes and found no reason to ground them.
The FAA is also saying it has no reason to ban the planes yet, but it’s open to doing so once they have any data the raise concern, Business Insider reports. “Thus far, our review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft,” Acting FAA administrator Daniel K. Elwell said in a statement on Tuesday. However, Elwell added that the FAA will take “immediate and appropriate action” if any issues affecting the continued airworthiness of the 737 Max are identified. I also read an interesting paragraph at Pizza in Motion, that explains that US carriers may have additional safety features on their MAX 8 aircraft.
Southwest Airlines is allowing passengers who are booked on a 737 MAX 8 flight to switch planes for free, even if the new fare is more expensive.
But pressure is increasing from the Association of Professional Flight Attendants and at least three senators. But there’s also some new reports that US pilots who fly the Boeing 737 Max have registered complaints about the way the jet has performed in flight. According to a federal database accessed by CNN, a captain reported an autopilot anomaly which led to a brief nose-down situation. In another complaint, a first officer reported that the aircraft pitched nose down after the autopilot was engaged during departure.