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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  1. signol says:

    I’ve got a Comair (South Africa) booking coming up. The airline has voluntarily grounded its 737Max fleet.

    • Dwadda says:

      Fleet = 1

      • To paraphrase Cabin Pressure: with just one plane in the fleet, it’s more an air*dot* than an air*line*. 🙂

        • signol says:

          Ha thanks – means the risk of disruption is lower! I think they have 14+ planes total…

    • For complete clarity, Comair has received precisely ONE Max aircraft, delivery last month, and its temporary withdrawal will not affect scheduled services at all.

  2. Isn’t China in the Northern Hemisphere? Or am I missing something? Germany and Ireland have joined the ban.
    Expect some EASA news any time soon.

  3. Dwadda says:

    This is the right thing to do. Circa 350 people have died in less than six months under mysterious circumstances that Boeing cannot explain. The fact that Boeing hasn’t iniated a manufacturer grounding of the aircraft is a source of consternation for me. They are working on a software ‘enhancement’ – that should read bug fix. Fact is, Boeing likely killed those people, and they are trying to duck responsibility for it. That Trump’s FAA deems the 737 max to be airworthy after 350 people have died stinks of “America First” rather than safety first, and is blantantly done to help Boeing escape culpability.

    I have nothing against Boeing. But they should fess up and make amends as RR is doing with the Trent 1000.

    It seems Lion Air is cancelling 200 737max orders and replacing them with A320neos. If Boeing had behaved properly from the first incident that probably would not have happened. Boeing needs a new CEO.

    I’ll be avoiding 737max’s for the time being.

    • Shoestring says:

      I was listening to some air nerd on the radio when this news came out a couple of hours ago – he basically said the 737 MAX is so blimmin difficult to fly, they don’t trust the pilots, whether it’s on manual or automatic pilot – there’s always a ‘keep me flying’ prog working in the background to prevent this ‘flying pig’ from ditching, set the trim etc

      and the conversion course to fly it is only 90 mins on an iPad!

      • BlueThroughCrimp says:

        Isn’t that part of the problem?
        Boeing trying to keep the costs down in training, and keeping it the same type as the NG models, rather than a full conversion course that would be a cost to airlines that may sway an order away from the Max?

        • Have you ever tried using any of the CBT courses developed by Boeing for pilots ? They arent really all that great either – for a taste, search you tube for 777 CBT .

      • Michael says:

        Somehow I doubt this is true.

    • Thomas Howard says:

      Yesterday I was jumping to conclusions for saying this was the logical thing to do.

    • @mkcol says:

      Is this true about Lion Air switching the Boeings to Airbuses?

    • Boeing need to be seriously punished for this (if it turns out to be their fault).

      The yanks were quick to slam BP hard when it wasn’t even their fault !

    • Oooh, 200 planes. That’s huge money just lost right there.
      If this is true I’d expect this news to have an additional effect on both Boeing and Airbus’ share prices over and above the moves caused by the crashes themselves.

  4. Ryanair are due to deploy this type at Stansted in May

  5. Shoestring says:

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

  6. Matt B says:

    I have a Southwest flight next month, thinks its on one of these……

    • @mkcol says:

      As Trump would say #ThoughtsAndPrayers

      • Shoestring says:

        President Donald Trump on Tuesday complained that modern planes are becoming too complicated for pilots, as countries around the world ground the Boeing 737 Max 8 after a deadly crash in Ethiopia.
        “Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly. Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT. I see it all the time in many products. Always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simpler is far better,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
        He continued: “Split second decisions are….needed, and the complexity creates danger. All of this for great cost yet very little gain. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot. I want great flying professionals that are allowed to easily and quickly take control of a plane!”

        • Michael says:

          To his credit, i think he actually has a point.

        • Shoestring says:

          Used to run an airline, he’s an expert! And a helicopter shuttle service

        • patrick C says:

          As usual Trump’s brainless explanations (he never actually ran anything, nor an RE business or an airline)

          Computer based flying actually made planes the safest travel mode on the planet by cutting down on tons of human errors.

          Now there is a disconnect between how planes work and how little pilots know about this today, but that has more to do with low cost airlines putting pressure on pilot training across the industry…

        • BlueThroughCrimp says:

          @Patrick C Does that include Air France 447, as that’s probably the most noteworthy pilot/machine disconnect until the Max issues?

        • The investigators of the AF447 crash said pilot training should have more emphasis on basic flying skills. The least experienced pilot had the controls and stalled the plane while climbing too quickly to avoid a storm. Only the captain, when woken from his slumbers, recognised the stall – moments before impact.

          The issue with the 737 Max appears to be the opposite and similar to the Paris air show airbus crash, which was a case study in my software engineering classes at university, that of an interaction between sensors and software overriding the actions of the cockpit crew. The Lion Air crash was attributed to the MCAS acting on a failed sensor and the cockpit crew only able to wrestle back control for 5 seconds at a time – hence the erratic movements recorded. The ‘nerd’ on BBC Radio 4 pointed out that there were only two identical sensors and the MCAS system would act if either, rather than both, or better 2 out of 3 if there had been 3, detected the onset of stall. One failed sensor and the crew have to flight with the computer to control the plane.

          And the reason why Maxes have the MCAS? A bodge to allow the larger more-fuel-efficient engines, without a major re-design of the hull, which had to be moved forwards making the plane inherently unstable. Boeing thought they would just compensate with software and not tell the pilots.

          I would have thought the likely outcome would be a software update to allow the pilots to regain control over MCAS, the addition of at least one more tilt sensor, and greater pilot training.

          Still, just like the DC10 that had outward-opening cargo doors to save a little space inside but no indication as to whether it was locked or not and subsequently suffered a number of crashes, the image of the 737 Max is likely to be forever tarnished in the eyes of the ticket-buying public.

      • Matt B says:

        My wife got mixed up, as it stands we’re not on one thankfully but I’ll be keeping an eye on the schedule

  7. Absolutely the right thing to do. Both incidents could be entirely unrelated cause wise. But 2x in 6 months in a new version of an aircraft – alarm bells should be ringing and you don’t take chances. Shame on the Americans concerned on this one.

  8. Steve S says:

    I’m flying to Iceland Sunday with TUI I hope it’s not one of those

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Shoestring says:

    Looks like we’ve just grounded Brexit!

    It was always going to stall.

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