Boeing’s Max 8 jet under scrutiny after Ethiopian crash kills 157

Boeing’s Max 8 jet under scrutiny after Ethiopian crash kills 157

By Luke Vargas   
A promotional photo of Boeing's 737 Max aircraft. Courtesy: Boeing
A promotional photo of Boeing's 737 Max aircraft. (Courtesy: Boeing)

Sunday's crash outside of Addis Ababa follows another deadly accident involving the top-selling jet in Indonesia in October.

UNITED NATIONS —  Boeing was contending with mounting calls to ground its best-selling 737 Max 8 aircraft a day after an Ethiopian Airlines jet crashed shortly after takeoff just miles outside the capital Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people on board.

The crash came just months after another Max 8 aircraft operated by Indonesian low-cost carrier Lion Air crashed several minutes after departing Jakarta last October.

Ethiopian authorities have reportedly obtained flight data and cockpit voice records from Sunday’s accident site, though neither Ethiopian investigators nor Boeing has offered a possible explanation for the crash.

According to eyewitness reports, Flight 302 made a series of dramatic turns and appeared to be shedding debris before crashing six minutes after take-off.

China’s Civil Aviation Administration was among the first national regulators to suspend flights of the Max 8 following Sunday’s crash, a decision that led to the grounding of 96 planes operated by Chinese carriers.

Indonesia was quick to follow China’s decision, while a number of other global airlines replaced Max 8 jets with other aircraft for regularly scheduled flights. As of press time, no U.S. carrier operating the Max 8 had pulled its planes out of service.

Boeing, based in Chicago, is engaged in fierce competition with rival Airbus to win orders for its Max 8 line of medium-range commercial aircraft, a niche Airbus long dominated. Safety concerns surrounding the Max 8 could could prove a boost to Chinese state-run aerospace firm Comac, which reportedly plans to introduce a Max 8 competitor to the market soon.

Shares of Airbus surged nearly 1.3 percent on Monday, while Boeing shed more than 5 percent.

“United in Grief”

Among those killed in Sunday’s crash were 21 staff of the United Nations, which maintains major centers of operation in both Addis Ababa and Nairobi, Kenya, Flight 302’s intended destination.

“A global tragedy has hit close to home, and the United Nations is united in grief,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Monday.

“Our colleagues were women and men – junior professionals and seasoned officials  hailing from all corners of the globe and with a wide array of expertise,” Guterres said. “They all had one thing in common — a spirit to serve the people of the world and to make it a better place for us all.”

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