While the causes of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 crash are not clarified by Ethiopian authorities, several airlines in the world have decided to ground the 737 MAX model, version involved in the accident in Africa.
Despite this, Boeing has denied any issue with the new model of the 737. In a statement on Tuesday, the manufacturer said that “safety is Boeing’s number one priority and we have full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX. We understand that regulatory agencies and customers have made decisions that they believe are most appropriate for their home markets. We will continue to engage with them to ensure they have the information they need to have confidence in operating their fleets. ”
The manufacturer’s statement is supported by the FAA, the US Federal Aviation Administration, which has not issued any action to the model operators in the country to date. “The FAA is not mandating any further action at this time, and based on the information currently available, we do not have any basis for a new guidance to operators,” explained the Boeing statement.
On the other hand, Boeing has confirmed that it will make an upgrade on the aircraft’s flight control software in the coming weeks.
“This includes updates to the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) flight control law, pilot displays, operation manuals and crew training. The enhanced flight control law incorporates angle of attack (AOA) inputs, limits stabilizer commands in response to an erroneous angle of attack reading, and provides a limit to the stabilizer command in order to retain elevator authority,” said Boeing.
The upgrade, however, was not motivated by the accident with the Etihopian plane, but with the 737 MAX 8 from Lion Air, which in October 2018 crashed into the ocean, the first accident with the type.
737 MAX on the ground
Despite the positioning of Boeing and the FAA, several airlines around the world have decided to take the 737 MAX out of operation until the circumstances of the accident are clear.
There are today about 370 Boeing 737 MAX in operation, most of them in China with almost 100 aircraft and which banned the jet from flying. In Latin America, 18 units flying by Aeromexico, Aerolineas Argentinas and Gol are in the ground. The Brazilian airline, even, had accelerated the delivery of the aircraft in order to reduce its operating costs.
In Europe, countries such as the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Ireland have banned flights with the 737 MAX in their airspace. Later, EASA, the European Aviation Safety Agency, published an an Airworthiness Directive suspending all flight operations of all Boeing Model 737-8 MAX and 737-9 MAX aeroplanes in Europe.
Meanwhile, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, which has 24 and 34 aircraft in their fleets, respectively, have kept the 737 MAX in flight following the FAA recommendation. Who will be right after all?