Singapore, Mexico suspends Boeing 737 MAX flights after Ethiopia crash
Singapore will temporarily suspend all Boeing 737 MAX flights from 1400 local time (0600 GMT) on Tuesday.
This comes two days after an Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed all 157 on board.
The suspension will affect SilkAir, an arm of Singapore Airlines, as well as China Southern Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Shandong Airlines and Thai Lion Air, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said in a statement.
Mexican airline Aeromexico also said it had suspended the operation of its six Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes until it had clear information about the investigation into the Ethiopian Airlines crash.
“Flights operated with these planes will be covered by the rest of the fleet,” Aeromexico said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the United States will mandate that Boeing Co implement design changes by April that have been in the works for months for the 737 MAX 8 fleet after a fatal crash in October.
However, the American Government has maintained that the plane is airworthy and did not need be grounded after the Ethiopian crash on Sunday.
Boeing confirmed the Federal Aviation Administration’s announcement late Monday that it will deploy a software upgrade across the 737 MAX 8 fleet “in the coming weeks” as pressure mounted. Two U.S. senators called the fleet’s immediate grounding and a rising number of airlines said they would voluntarily ground their fleets.
The company confirmed it had for several months “been developing a flight control software enhancement for the 737 MAX, designed to make an already safe aircraft even safer.”
Boeing did not reference Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines crash in connection to the software upgrade. The statement did express the company’s condolences to the relatives of the 157 people who died, however.
The FAA said the changes will “provide reduced reliance on procedures associated with required pilot memory items.”
The FAA also said Boeing will “update training requirements and flight crew manuals to go with the design change” to an automated protection system called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System or MCAS. The changes also include MCAS activation and angle of attack signal enhancements.
The FAA said in the notice made public that external reports are drawing similarities between the crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia.
“However, this investigation has just begun and to date we have not been provided data to draw any conclusions or take any actions,” according to the Continued Airworthiness Notification to the International Community for Boeing 737 MAX 8 operators.
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