Singapore grounds Boeing 737 Max flights after Ethiopian Airlines crash

‘CAAS is working with Changi Airport Group and the affected airlines to minimise any impact to travelling passengers,’ the aviation authority said in a statement on Tuesday morning.

Singapore’s Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said on Tuesday it will be suspending all Boeing 737 Max flights into and out of Singapore with effect from 2pm local time, on March 12.

The move is ‘in light of two fatal accidents involving Boeing 737 Max aircraft in less than five months’, the CAAS said.

‘CAAS is working with Changi Airport Group and the affected airlines to minimise any impact to travelling passengers,’ the aviation authority said in a statement on Tuesday morning.

‘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,’ CAAS said.

The announcement follows in the wake of the grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max planes from countries and airline companies after Ethiopian Airlines’ flight 302 crashed within minutes from take-off on Sunday, killing all 157 people on board.

Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 had plunged to the ground minutes after leaving Addis Ababa enroute to Nairobi, Kenya. The freak accident was the same type of plane that had crashed in Indonesia in October which killed 189 people, raising questions on the safety of the airline company’s new variant of its bestselling 737s.

China on Monday morning ordered to temporarily ground all Chinese airlines until further notice from the use of Boeing’s 737 Max planes. Ethiopian Airlines and Mexico’s Aeromexico have also grounded its fleet of those planes.

Singapore Airline’s SilkAir will be affected by suspension

Singapore Airline's regional wing, SilkAir, which operates six Boeing 737 Max aircraft, will be affected by the temporary suspension. The other airlines currently operating Boeing 737 Max aircraft to Singapore are China Southern Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Shandong Airlines, and Thai Lion Air.

SilkAir has a further 31 planes on order.

A SilkAir spokesperson told The Business Times yesterday the firm is in contact with Boeing and are closely monitoring developments. ‘The safety of our passengers and crew is of utmost importance to SilkAir,’ it said.

Boeing's shares take a beating

Boeing’s share price fell 5.33% to close lower on Monday’s trading, down US$22.53, at US$400.01.

After-hours trading reflected a muted situation, with the stock down 0.09% or US$0.36, at US$399.65, compared to the pre-trading session a day ago, which saw the airplane manufacturer’s stock take a nosedive, as it plunged by 8.88%.

In October, when Lion Air's 737 Max crashed into the ocean, Boeing’s stock had fallen 6.6% partly due to the accident.

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