I wrote about earlier that the rightful thing to do in wake of the Ethiopian crash is to investigate what has gone wrong with the 737 Max in recent events before allowing the aircraft to fly again.
Well with the first working day of the week already well underway in China, it looks like the Chinese Civil Aviation Authority has officially grounded all flights utilizing 737 Max aircraft. As of 6 PM Beijing time, all Chinese airlines flying the 737 Max aircraft type (8 and 9 variant) are required to pull these aircraft from service. It was only a rumor earlier, but both NY Times and Washington Post along with several other reputed publications are now reporting the same.
China now becomes the first major country to take action on the matter as many airline customers are beginning to cancel flights based on the unanswered question pertaining to these incidents.
This is no doubt a big hit to Boeing which recently topped $100 billion in revenue for the very first time on the cusp of selling more 737 Max aircraft to airlines in the rapidly expanding Southeast Asia aviation market. They were surely looking forward to leaving Bombardier and Airbus in the dust. So today is a bad day for Boeing and a good day for Airbus (especially if you are an investor)
I do hope and expect that the FAA does the same in the U.S tomorrow morning when the business day starts. It would certainly be a shame for Washington if it didn’t take action in favor of passenger safety. Of course as I mentioned, there are probably more hurdles for the U.S to take action than China given the rampant lobbyism.
So while on one hand, I am surprised to see China take the lead on this, on the other it certainly doesn’t seem entirely farfetched them to establish a temporary ban. I do expect that EASA will make a statement here very soon and take similar actions.
Anyway I’ve heard from a lot of you already that you have changed plans and taken a stance in not flying the 737 Max. Keep doing so, because we certainly want some answers regarding these incidents from Boeing and the NTSB very soon. And the only way to put pressure on them is to change your flight plans so that its not exactly worth it for airlines to continue flying it before a thorough evaluation. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
Kudos China on taking the proper action! And my deepest sympathies to the families of those who perished in the recent air disasters in Indonesia and Ethiopia.