Boeing under pressure to explain 737 Max-8 crashes
Aircraft manufacturer Boeing is under great pressure to come with explanations about the crash of the Boeing 737 Max-8 of Ethiopian Airlines last Sunday. In the meantime, almost one quarter of worldwide fleet is grounded. China, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Morocco and the Cayman Islands have temporarily decided not to use this type of Boeing.
Five months ago, a similar plane crashed in Indonesia, in similar circumstances. Question is whether both accidents are related.
Aviation expert, Joris Melkert, of the Technical University in Delft doesn’t want to jump to conclusions. “In both cases it was a Boeing 737 Max-8. Both crashes happened soon after take off. That’s remarkable but it could be pure coincidence too.”
For Boeing the crash is bad news. The plane – a so-called ‘narrow body’ with only one gangway – is the fourth generation of the popular Boeing 737. It’s has 170 seats and is a short or medium-range aircraft. “The cash cow of Boeing”, says Melkert.
This aircraft represents one third of Boeing’s return. In 2017, about 350 of them were sold and the order book still has an extra 5.000 orders in it.
Greatest loss since 9/11
Boeing’s share lost more than 13,5% on Monday, the greatest loss for the aircraft manufacturer since the attacks of September 11th 2001 in the USA.
Most important customers for the Boeing 737 Max-8 are Ryanair (135 planes), Norwegian Air (110) and TUI (54). Dutch Corendon already has one Max-8, a second one will be delivered soon.
For Boeing, the crash in Ethiopia is no reason to recall its Max-8 models. The fact that the Chinese keep the Boeing 737 Max-8 grounded has probably a political reason, supposes Melkert. “It possibly has to do with the trade war between China and the United States. Now China has a stick to beat a dog.”
In the accident on Sunday at 60 km of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Abeba, 157 people, among which 19 employees of the United Nations, lost their lives. Reason for the crash is unknown yet. The pilot mentioned some problems shortly after take off and had the permission to return to the airport. End October a similar plane crashed in Indonesia, probably due to mechanical problems. 189 people died.