China grounds 737 Max 8 after crash in Ethiopia

A crater marks the ground outside Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, when a Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed, killing 157 people (photo: Ethiopian Airlines).

The Civil Aviation Administration of China has grounded the nation’s fleet of Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft after the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane killed 157 people. It was the second crash under similar circumstances in a little more than four months. In October, a Lion Air crash in Indonesia killed 189 people.

“In view of the fact that the two air crashes are newly delivered Boeing 737-8 aircraft, and they all occur in the take-off phase, they have certain similarities,” read a statement posted on the CAAC’s website.

The Ethiopian plane crashed minutes after takeoff. Flight data suggest the plane rose and dipped before finally plunging to the ground.

“In line with the management principle of zero tolerance for safety hazards and strict control of safety risks, in order to ensure the flight of civil aviation in China Security, at 9:00 on March 11, the Civil Aviation Administration issued a notice requesting domestic transportation airlines to suspend the commercial operation of the Boeing 737-8 aircraft before 18:00 on March 11, 2019.”

In Canada, both Westjet and Air Canada fly the type. Neither airline has indicated any action, though Cayman Airways also decided to ground its fleet of two 737 Max 8s.

Investigators for the Ethiopian authorities, the airline, Boeing and the National Transportation Safety Board have all been dispatched to figure out what went wrong.

The CAAC says it will rely on safety updates from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing to decide when it will allow commercial operation of the Boeing 737 Max 8.