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EU bans all Boeing 737 MAX 8 flights from its airspace – Norwegian and Tui impacted

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The UK Civil Aviation Authority banned the Boeing 737 MAX 8 from operating in or over UK airspace on Tuesday afternoon.  In the evening, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency extended the ban to the whole of the EU. 

This follows the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines aircraft on Sunday, which was the second MAX 8 crash in five months.  There are currently 350 MAX 8 and MAX 9 aircraft in service globally.

This follows existing bans in Singapore, China, Malaysia, Ethiopia and Australia.  Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Ireland and France have also banned the aircraft on Tuesday before the full EU ban was announced.

UK bans Boeing 737 Max 8

The two main airlines impacted will be Norwegian and Tui.  Tui appears to have received 11 x 737 MAX 8 out of a total order of 54, although only five appear to be in service in the UK at present.  Norwegian has 18 in service out of a total order of 110.

There will be other carriers impacted too – a Turkish Airlines plane was reported to have been made to turn back on the way to the UK – but most airlines will be able to switch their UK services to a different aircraft type.

Air Canada has also cancelled a number of services from Canada to the UK over the next few days.

Other airlines which operate short-haul flights to the UK and which own MAX 8 aircraft include Icelandair, Air Italy and LOT Polish.  British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair and Jet2 do not own any of the aircraft although Ryanair has 135 on order.  BA’s South African franchise, Comair, has one MAX 8 in British Airways livery which has been grounded.

The aircraft is still deemed airworthy by the US Federal Aviation Administration, with Southwest Airlines being the largest operator.  The US is now looking like an outlier, however.

You can read the CAA statement on its website here.  The EASA statement is here.

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Comments (64)

  • Nick says:

    This is the right thing to do.

    Does anyone know if AA fly this type of plane on LAX-LAS route I have return booked in July and just says plane type “737” – my partner does not want to take the flights (me neither to be honest) if it is this type of plane – will AA let me rebook onto later / earlier flight which is an airbus ? Or will they try to charge a fortune ?

    My ticket type is cheap business class fare so no changes I believe. Wondering if they will allow exceptions for this.

    Cant see any US airlines grounding the plane.

  • Pangolin says:

    EASA just grounded the MAX across all EU airspace, after most of the major national regulators had already done likewise for their own airspace.

    Looks like Boeing will eventually have to update their blithe press release about there being no safety concerns to consider, since the FAA regards the MAX as airworthy.

  • Shoestring says:

    Looks like we’ve just grounded Brexit!

    It was always going to stall.

  • Shoestring says:

    read this one again theaircurrent dot com/aviation-safety/what-is-the-boeing-737-max-maneuvering-characteristics-augmentation-system-mcas-jt610/

    all is explained

    • Thanks for that.

      Oops. Boeing have designed a bad aeroplane and tried to fudge it without telling the pilots!


      Don’t they remember the lessons from Kegworth? Where the pilots made a wrong decision because they didn’t know the air con system had been changed.

  • James says:

    Of course America doesn’t want to ground it, It’s Boeing after all. If it were an Airbus they’d have been straight on it !!

  • Simon says:

    I have a flight with Norwegian early May. Does anyone more au fait with the industry than myself (not difficult) have a view on whether their planes being grounded will have any serious consequences on their already precarious financial position?

    I’m assuming that as a low cost carrier they don’t have large number of planes sitting around to replace the grounded jets?

    • Phil says:

      I guess we don’t know for sure if the two Turkish obes were turned back which seems extreme or if the airline decided to take them home so that they would not be stuck in the UK and presumably paying storage fees to the airport

    • Alan says:

      Indeed – lots of US pilot reports from months ago now surfacing too…

    • Shoestring says:

      “Lives must come first always. But a brand is at stake as well. And that brand is not just Boeing. It’s America,” she said

  • Ted says:

    My wife and I were booked on a Norwegian MAX from EDI to SWF (Newburgh aka New York Stewart Intl.) next Friday but I received the inevitable text today that the flight had been cancelled.

    After approx. 90 mins on the line with Norwegian’s call centre, I think we’ve had a pretty decent result. We’ve been re-booked on a BA flight from EDI-LGW and then Norwegian from LGW-JFK albeit with a ten hour layover in Gatwick. A chance to try out the Yotel and flying on a widebody with IFE? Yes please! The avgeek in me is delighted 🙂

    As for our return leg (SWF-EDI), operated by a MAX, it is still ‘live’ and hasn’t been cancelled. Something tells me I’ll be chatting to the Norwegian call centre from across the pond…

    The irony is Norwegian are ending this Edinburgh to Stewart route just days after we were due to get back. Looks like this route might already have bitten the dust unfortunately.

    On a side note, Norwegian’s call centre were very good despite them being inundated with calls just now.

    Currently looking for lounge recommendations for LGW – we have two free passes to use from our Amex gold.