The list of countries banning Boeing 737 Max planes from their skies grew much longer Tuesday with most of Europe, Australia and India joining China, Indonesia and others that had already made the move.
And in the U.S. – there are growing calls by the public, politicians and flight attendants’ unions to ground the planes as well. But U.S. officials and Boeing maintain the aircraft is safe to fly. CGTN’s Dan Williams has the story from Chicago.
For now, it’s business as usual at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport the busiest airport in the United States. But that is not the case elsewhere. More countries and airlines across the globe took the step Tuesday — of banning flights by Boeing 737 Max 8s and 9s.
It follows Sunday’s Ethiopia Airlines crash — the second of a 737 Max 8 plane in less than five months. But Boeing and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration say the planes are still safe to fly. China was the first country to ground its fleet of the model and stands by the decision.
“The notice of the CAAC has clearly stated that they will only ask Chinese aviation companies to lift the ban on commercial operations of Boeing 737-8 MAX when they are assured by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing that they have taken related measures to guarantee safe travel,” Chinese Foreign Minister Spokesperson, Lu Kang said.
Boeing and American civil aviation investigators have joined in Ethiopia’s search for answers in the debris at the scene of the crash site, just outside of Addis Ababa.
In a Statement, Boeing said:
“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’ll continue to engage with them to ensure they have the information needed to have confidence in operating their fleets.”
Over the years, Boeing has established a robust reputation for safety, and although it’s too early to make any kind of judgement, with the investigation only just beginning, the two crashes in swift succession raise a number of questions that threaten to undermine that status.
Dennis Culloton is the CEO of Culloton Strategies a company that specializes in crisis management. He feels Boeing should have taken a more pro-active approach – grounding the planes in an abundance of caution.
“They are working behind the scenes to get to the bottom of what went wrong, if anything, with their aircraft. But the problem is they are also keeping that very confidential. Very behind the scenes,” said Culloton, “I think they are missing out on an opportunity or a necessity to communicate with the flying public their ultimate customers, their customers and the markets. And using this moment of truth, as an opportunity to remind everybody that this is what we stand for.”
In Ethiopia, the families of some of the 157 people who lost their lives have been visiting the crash site. They, more than anyone else, are demanding answers to the many questions posed by this second Boeing crash.
Michael Planey discusses the international response to the Boeing plane disasters
CGTN’s Elaine Reyes spoke to Michael Planey for insight into the controversy surrounding Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 plane. Planey is an airline technology expert with HMPlaney Consultants.