Singapore, Australia ban use of Boeing 737 MAX in their airspace
Singapore and Australia suspended operations of all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in and out of their airports on Tuesday, and Indonesia and China grounded their fleets of the US planemaker’s latest model after it suffered a second fatal crash in less than five months.
The scare has wiped billions of dollars off the market value of the world’s biggest planemaker, as the Boeing Co share closed 5 percent down on Monday having fallen by as much as 13.5 percent at one point.
“During the temporary suspension, CAAS will gather more information and review the safety risk associated with the continued operation of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft into and out of Singapore,” the regulator said in a statement.
It was the first major regulator to order such an action, but the anxiety was also evident among air travellers, who rushed to find out from social media whether they were booked to fly on 737 MAX planes – the same model involved in the Lion Air crash off Indonesia that killed 189 people in October.
Boeing issued a statement as well, saying it had been working with the FAA in the aftermath of a Lion Air crash to develop enhancements to flight control software that will be deployed across the 737 MAX fleet in coming weeks.
Still, major airlines from North America to the Middle East kept flying the 737 MAX, though Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau said he would not hesitate to take action once the cause of the crash is known.
Former FAA accident investigator Mike Daniel said he believed the decision by regulators to ground the planes was premature. “To me it almost surreal how quickly some of the regulators are just grounding the aircraft without any factual information yet as a result of the investigation,” he told Reuters.