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China, Ethiopian Airlines ground Boeing 737 Max Jets

It is turning out to be a nightmare for Boeing after an accident yesterday that killed 157 people on board, 32 of them being Kenyans.

China has grounded all its fleet for domestic travels, intensifying scrutiny for one of the best-selling Boeings. The country has 70 jets, accounting for about 20 percent of 737 Max deliveries worldwide through January, according to the company’s website.

In September 2014, Ethiopian Airlines announced an order for 20 737 MAX 8s. “The order, previously unidentified on the Boeing Orders & Deliveries website, is worth more than $2.1 billion at list prices and includes options and purchase rights for a further 15 737 MAX 8s”, read a statement on Boeing’s website. The order represented the largest single Boeing order by number of airplanes from an African carrier.

But considering that yesterday’s crash is the second in just five months, the largest airline by fleet capacity in Africa today decided to ground all its 737 Max jets. The statement released by the company noted that while the cause of the accident was yet to be established, it decided to take extra safety measures in grounding the fleet.

According to Boeing’s website, the Boeing 737 MAX is designed to provide passengers with a comfortable flying experience and more direct routes to their favorite destinations.

“The unmatched reliability of the MAX means more 737 flights depart on time with fewer delays. And technological advances plus powerful LEAP-1B engines are helping to redefine the future of efficient and environmentally friendly air travel”, it reads.

Flight ET302 plunged to the ground minutes after leaving Addis Ababa en route to Nairobi, Kenya, killing all 157 people on board. In a press statement following the accident the airline’s chief executive officer, Tewolde GebreMariam, the pilot reported problems shortly after takeoff and was cleared to return to the airport. He added that the 737 Max 8 hadn’t had any apparent mechanical issues on an earlier flight from Johannesburg.

Kenya Airways does not have this fleet of Boeings.

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