Latest: EASA suspends all Boeing 737 Max 8 flights in Europe

Latest: EASA suspends all Boeing 737 Max 8 flights in Europe

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency has suspended all flights involving the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft within European airspace.

In a statement issued by the EASA they said that they were taking "every step necessary to ensure the safety of passengers."

"As a precautionary measure, EASA has published today an Airworthiness Directive, effective as of 19:00 UTC, suspending all flight operations of all Boeing Model 737-8 MAX and 737-9 MAX aeroplanes in Europe. In addition EASA has published a Safety Directive, effective as of 19:00 UTC, suspending all commercial flights performed by third-country operators into, within or out of the EU of the above mentioned models.

"The accident investigation is led by the Ethiopian Authorities with the support of the National Transportation Safety Board, as the aircraft was designed and built in the United States. EASA has offered their assistance in supporting the accident investigation.

"EASA is continuously analysing the data as it becomes available. The accident investigation is currently ongoing, and it is too early to draw any conclusions as to the cause of the accident."

Aviation Authority suspends operation of Boeing 737 MAX planes in Irish airspace

Latest: The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has issued a temporary suspension of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft into and out of Irish airspace.

The authority said the decision had been based on "ensuring the continued safety of passengers and flight crew, which is the IAA’s number one priority".

The temporary suspension took effect from 3pm today.

Following the two fatal accidents involving the planes in recent months in Ethiopia and Indonesia, the IAA said that flights would not be permitted to operate in Irish airspace as a precautionary measure.

It said in a statement: "The IAA has been closely monitoring the situation, however, as we do not currently have sufficient information from the flight data recorder we have, as a precautionary measure, issued instructions to stop any flights on Boeing 737 MAX from any operator arriving, departing or overflying Irish airspace."

The announcement follows a ban by the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority today on commercial passenger flights by Boeing 737 Max aircraft from “arriving, departing or overflying UK airspace”.

The Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) has advised passengers to be aware of their entitlements if their flights are delayed are cancelled, and information can be found on flightrights.ie.

A statement from the EASA said: "Following the tragic accident of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 involving a Boeing 737 MAX 8, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is taking every step necessary to ensure the safety of passengers.

"As a precautionary measure, EASA has published today an Airworthiness Directive, effective as of 19:00 UTC, suspending all flight operations of all Boeing Model 737-8 MAX and 737-9 MAX aeroplanes in Europe. In addition EASA has published a Safety Directive, effective as of 19:00 UTC, suspending all commercial flights performed by third-country operators into, within or out of the EU of the above mentioned models.

"The accident investigation is led by the Ethiopian Authorities with the support of the National Transportation Safety Board, as the aircraft was designed and built in the United States. EASA has offered their assistance in supporting the accident investigation.

"EASA is continuously analysing the data as it becomes available. The accident investigation is currently ongoing, and it is too early to draw any conclusions as to the cause of the accident."

Update: 13 Boeing 737 Max 8 planes to continue operating in Irish airspace; UK announces ban

The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority is banning any commercial passenger flights by Boeing 737 Max aircraft from “arriving, departing or overflying UK airspace”, it has announced.

Airlines are continuing to operate flights out of Ireland and the UK using Boeing’s 737 Max 8 plane despite suspensions around the globe amid safety concerns following the Ethiopian Airlines disaster which killed 157 people including nine Britons.

While Australia and South Korea followed Singapore, China and Indonesia in temporarily grounding the aircraft, some operators – including Norwegian and Tui – have so far refused to take action.

It comes as Boeing said it was “working closely” with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) “on development, planning and certification” of a software enhancement, due to be rolled out in the coming weeks.

There are currently no plans to ground the thirteen Boeing 737 Max planes operating in Irish airspace.

The cause of the crash has not been established yet and the Irish Aviation Authority says it is awaiting more information from those investigating the accident.

Flight ET302 crashed shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa on Sunday morning, killing all 157 people on board.

It was the second deadly incident involving the new model of Boeing passenger jet in less than five months, prompting concerns over its safety.

Australia’s civil aviation safety authority said it had suspended the model flying into or out of the country.

The regulator’s boss, Shane Carmody, said in a statement: “This is a temporary suspension while we wait for more information to review the safety risks of continued operations of the Boeing 737 MAX to and from Australia.”

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

South Korean airline Eastar Jet also announced a suspension of operations using the model of aircraft involved in Ethiopian Airlines crash.

Singapore’s own air regulator also temporarily suspended operation of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft, variations of which number 7 to 10, into and out of its airports.

The move prohibits services to and from Changi Airport, one of the largest hubs in Southeast Asia, while Singapore Airlines subsidiary SilkAir said it was temporarily withdrawing its six Max 8s.

It comes after Chinese and Indonesian regulators ordered their airlines to temporarily ground their Boeing 737 Max 8 planes on Monday.

In the US, the FAA said the Boeing 737 Max 8s were safe to operate, although it had a team on the ground in Ethiopia to assist with the investigation and was continuously assessing the safety performance of the aircraft.

This process is validated for European Union countries by the European Aviation Safety Agency (Easa).

A Boeing 737 Max 8 being built for Oman Air at Boeing’s Renton assembly plant in Washington (Ted S Warren/AP)
A Boeing 737 Max 8 being built for Oman Air at Boeing’s Renton assembly plant in Washington (Ted S Warren/AP)

Tui Airways has the only five 737 Max 8 aircraft operated by a UK-based airline, and is due to begin flying a sixth later this week.

Asked if the airline would take any action in response to the crash, a spokesman for parent company Tui said: “We have no indication that we can’t operate our 737 Max in a safe way like we do with all other planes in our network.”

Scandinavian airline Norwegian, which serves London Gatwick, Manchester and Edinburgh in the UK, has 18 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.

The passengers killed in Sunday’s crash came from 35 nations, including 32 from Kenya and 18 from Canada.

Joseph Waithaka was among the 157 people who died in the crash (Family handout/PA)
Joseph Waithaka was among the 157 people who died in the crash (Family handout/PA)

The one Irish victim was named as Michael Ryan, a married father-of-two based in Rome with the UN’s World Food Programme, which distributes rations to people in need.

As many as 19 UN workers were feared to have been killed in the crash, the number being so high because of its environmental forum which started on Monday.

- Press Association

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