The United Kingdom has banned all Boeing 737 Max planes from departing, arriving or being in its airspace.
There are two 737 Max 8 planes presently in its airspace:
- Icelandair 555, en route from Brussels to Keflavik, Iceland
- Icelandair 471, en route from London Gatwick to Keflavik, Iceland
There are also planes headed for to cities in the UK:
- Thomson 485, en route from Marrakech to Manchester
- Turkish Airlines 1969, en route from Istanbul to Birmingham
- Turkish Airlines 1997, en route from Istanbul to London Gatwick
The UK’s ban on Boeing 737 MAX aircraft involves the entire series, not solely to 8s, according to a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority.
TUI Airways– one of the UK’s largest air carriers, just released a statement verifying that all of its 737 MAX 8 aircraft running in the UK have been grounded.
That decision follows guidance from the UK regulatory authorities, the carrier said.
It added, “Any customers due to fly home today on a 737 MAX 8 from their holiday will be flown back on another aircraft. Customers due to travel in the coming days will also travel on holiday as planned on other aircraft. The safety and wellbeing of our customers and staff has remained our primary concern.”
MAX 8 planes headed to the UK are now turning back
When the UK declared a ban on all Boeing 737 MAX jets this morning, some of the MAX 8 jets were already in transit to land at UK airports or go through UK airspaces.
At least two of those flights now seem to be turning back.
Turkish Airlines 1997 was in transit from Istanbul to London Gatwick when it changed course
And Turkish Airlines 1969 was on its way to Birmingham from Istanbul.
Norwegian Airlines suspends use
Norwegian Airlines just published a statement, saying it is temporarily suspending its use of the Boeing 737 MAX.
The Norwegian’s acting Chief Operating Officer, Tomas Hesthammer, apologized to customers, saying, “Safety will always remain our top priority.”
Here's the full statement:
“Following the decision by the relevant aviation regulatory bodies to temporarily suspend operations of Boeing 737 MAX, Norwegian will not operate any flights with this aircraft type until further notice. We remain in close dialogue with the aviation authorities and Boeing, and follow their instructions and recommendations.
Norwegian has more than 110 Boeing 737–800 aircraft in its fleet, which is not affected by this temporary suspension.
We would like to apologise to customers who will be affected by temporary cancellations and delays, but the safety and security of our customers and colleagues will never be compromised, and once authorities advise to cease operations we will of course comply.
Tomas Hesthammer, Norwegian’s acting Chief Operating Officer said: “In response to the temporary suspension of Being 737 MAX operations by multiple aviation authorities we have taken the decision to not operate flights using this aircraft type until advised otherwise by the relevant aviation authorities. We would like to apologise to customers for any inconvenience caused, however, safety will always remain our top priority.”
Brazil’s GOL Linhas Aereas just disclosed on Twitter that it is temporarily suspending commercial operations of its Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircrafts.
US National Transportation Safety Board in Ethiopia
The US National Transportation Safety Board inspected the Ethiopian Airlines crash site today, according to Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority official Amdeye Ayalew.
The Nairobi, Kenya-bound plane crashed within minutes of taking off from Addis Ababa.
The crash killed 157 people, seven of whom were crew members and one a security official.
American Senator calls for the grounding of Boeing 737 MAX8 planes in US
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, is calling on the Federal Aviation Administration to ground 737 Max 8 planes in the US.
Here's her full statement:
”Dozens of Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes fly daily in the United States. The United Kingdom, China, Australia, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia and others have already grounded the 737 MAX. The FAA should follow their lead, reverse their decision, and immediately ground this plane in the United States until its safety can be assured.
The world has now witnessed the second tragic crash of one of these planes in less than six months. While we do not know the causes of these crashes, serious questions have been raised about whether these planes were pressed into service without additional pilot training in order to save money. The FAA itself has indicated that software updates are likely coming. Any necessary changes must be made before, not after, more flights occur and more lives are potentially endangered.
The Boeing 737 MAX 8 is a major driver of Boeing profits. In the coming weeks and months, Congress should hold hearings on whether an Administration that famously refused to stand up to Saudi Arabia to protect Boeing arms sales has once again put lives at risk for the same reason. But that is a question to be answered another day. Today, immediately, the FAA needs to get these planes out of the sky.”