China and airlines order grounding of Boeing 737 Max model after second tragedy

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Two flights, two airlines, same fate.

The trouble appeared to begin almost immediately after takeoff. The pilots told air traffic controllers that they were having technical problems. And the plane seemed to repeatedly climb and dive before a final plunge, reports the New York Times.

The Sun reports the harrowing final seconds of the Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed on Sunday killing all 157 on board have been revealed.

The doomed Boeing 737 MAX-8 jet went down just six minutes after taking off from Bole International Airport in Ethiopia.

Flight-tracking website flightradar24 showed the plane “had unstable vertical speed” shortly after it took off, losing and gaining speed dramatically in its final seconds

Two eerily similar scenes have played out in recent months for Boeing’s brand-new 737 Max jets: on Sunday, when an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed just after taking off from Addis Ababa, killing 157 people, and in October, when a Lion Air disaster killed 189 people in Indonesia.

“The rarity of two planes of the same model going down in such a short time span has urgently caught the attention of pilots, passengers, engineers and industry analysts.

“There’s a whole lot of questions here and not a lot of answers,” said John Cox, the former executive air safety chairman of the Air Line Pilots Association in the United States and now the chief executive of Safety Operating Systems, a consulting firm.

Some airline and national officials are not waiting for answers. China on Monday morning ordered the grounding of 737 Max planes, and Cayman Airways said it was grounding its two new 737 Max jets.

China’s Civil Aviation Administration ordered the temporary grounding of all Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft flown by Chinese airlines following a crash of one of the planes flown by Ethiopian Airlines.

For Boeing, the questions go to the heart of its business, as the 737 class is a workhorse for airlines worldwide, and the single-aisle 737 Max has been the company’s best-selling plane ever. By the end of January, Boeing had delivered over 350 737 Max jets since putting them in service in 2017. They have a list price of around $120 million, the company said, and around 5,000 more are on order.”

Meanwhile, Reuters reports that Boeing Co said  it will postpone the planned ceremonial debut of its 777X widebody aircraft after Sunday’s crash.

A Boeing spokesman said there was no delay to the 777X program. Boeing said that after the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 it is focused on “supporting” the airline and would not proceed with Wednesday’s planned debut of the 777X in Seattle.

“We will look for an opportunity to mark the new plane with the world in the near future,” the company said.

Via NYT / The Sun / WSJ / Reuters

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