Ethiopian Airlines Crash Updates: Canadian Carrier Grounds Boeing 737 Max 8
• Much of the world, including the European Union, China and India — but not the United States — has banned flights of the Boeing 737 Max 8 since one of the planes crashed on Sunday in Ethiopia, killing more than 150 people, the second such accident in six months.
• The Canadian carrier Sunwing became the first airline in Canada or the United States to suspend operations of the plane, though it said it had not done so for safety reasons.
• Investigators are still waiting for information from Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302’s voice and data recorders, which were recovered from the crash site on Monday. The airline’s chief executive, interviewed by CNN, said the pilots had told air traffic control they were having “flight control problems.”
Citing global bans, Canadian airline grounds jets
Sunwing, a Canadian carrier, said on Tuesday that it was temporarily grounding its four Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft even though Canada’s government, like that of the United States, has not ordered the move.
In a statement, the company said the step was “unrelated to safety.” Instead, the airline said, the move was prompted by growing airspace bans by countries and “evolving commercial reasons.”
The European Union on Tuesday joined the governments of the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Singapore and other countries in suspending all Max 8 flights into or out of their airports. At least 34 airlines have now grounded the model, which means roughly two-thirds of the Max 8 planes in operation are now idled.
The Federal Aviation Administration in the United States has resisted pressure to ground the Max 8.
[We answered readers’ questions about the Boeing 737 Max 8.]
U.N. aviation agency takes no action on Max 8, for now
While regulators in much of the world have ordered temporary groundings of the Boeing 737 Max 8 as a precautionary measure, the United Nations civil aviation agency said it would await definitive findings about what went wrong on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.
“Once the final report into this accident is available we will have verified and official causes and recommendations to consider,” the agency, the International Civil Aviation Organization, said in a statement on Tuesday.
“In the meantime ICAO recognizes the right of those national governments who may choose to act on the limited information currently available by taking immediate flight safety precautions regarding 737 Max 8 operations,” it said.
The agency, based in Montreal, manages the Convention on International Civil Aviation, the agreement that ensures safe and orderly air travel around the world. According to its website, the agency, which has sanction powers to enforce compliance with the convention, works with United Nations member states and industry groups “in support of a safe, efficient, secure, economically sustainable and environmentally responsible civil aviation sector.”
Pilots reported ‘flight control problems,’ airline C.E.O. says
The pilots of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 reported to air traffic control that they were having “flight control problems” in the moments before the crash, the airline’s chief executive was quoted as saying in an interview with CNN.
The quoted remarks on Tuesday from the chief executive, Tewolde GebreMariam, suggested the plane had not responded to actions by the pilots.
Mr. GebreMariam was also quoted as saying the black boxes recovered from the wreckage “will be sent overseas” and not analyzed in Ethiopia. He did not specify where they would be taken.
Concerns arose about the Max 8’s flight control systems in October after one of the planes, Lion Air Flight 601, crashed in Indonesia soon after takeoff, leaving 189 people dead.