POST TIME: 14 March, 2019 12:44:40 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 14 March, 2019 08:53:31 AM
Bangladesh joins nations to ban Boeing 737 Max 8
Saugato Bosu, Dhaka

Bangladesh joins nations to ban Boeing 737 Max 8

Bangladesh has decided to ground all Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft used by international and local flight operators, starting yesterday (Wednesday), in the aftermath of the Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 crash on March 10, in which 157 people were killed.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) yesterday took the decision and sent letters to local and international airlines not to use Bangladeshi airports to land and take off using the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft. The CAAB has taken the preventive measure following two fatal crashes involving the Boeing 737 Max 8 planes in five months.

Capt. Salahuddin M Rahmatullah, chief flying operation inspector of the CAAB, confirmed the matter to The Independent. “We’ve sent letters to local and international airlines asking them not to use Boeing 737 Max 8 for landing in and take-off from any Bangladeshi airport from Wednesday,” said Captain Salahuddin.

Earlier in the day, India's Ministry of Civil Aviation said it won’t allow Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft to enter or transit through its airspace after 10.30 GMT.

However, Bangladesh has no such kind of aircraft till now. But on February 19, US-Bangla Airline, a private airline of Bangladesh, had announced its plan to bring a Boeing 737 Max 8 for the first time in the country at a press briefing.

Several foreign airlines operate their 737 Max 8 aircraft over Bangladeshi airspace and use the country’s airports. CAAB sources have made it clear that even those airlines won’t be allowed to use the country’s airspace.

“The timeline is to cater to situations where aircraft can be positioned at maintenance facilities and international flights can reach their destinations,” India’s Civil Aviation Ministry said in a tweet yesterday.

The ministry said late on Tuesday that it would ground Boeing 737 Max 8 with immediate effect. Jet Airways and SpiceJet,  two top Indian airlines, operate the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.

SpiceJet has suspended operations of the 737 Max 8 after the regulator’s decision to ground the aircraft, the airline's spokesman said yesterday.

However, the US and Canada are still flying a substantial number of these aircraft. The EU has suspended the Boeing 737 Max 8 across Europe from Tuesday. At least 40 countries, including all EU member states and multiple airlines across the world have grounded the Boeing 737 Max 8 following the Ethiopian Airlines crash on March 10.

Just six months ago, a Boeing 737 Max 8, operated by Lion Air, crashed off Indonesia, killing all 189 onboard. In the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines crash, countries like China, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea and Ethiopia decided to ground the Boeing 737 Max 8. Besides, Cayman Airways, Comair Airways, Eastar Jet, Jet Airways, Mongolian Airlines, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Lion Air and Silk Air have suspended the Boeing 737 Max 8.

Airlines of Argentina, Mexico’s Aeromexico and Brazil’s Gol have also suspended flights of the Boeing aircraft, according to media reports.

On Tuesday, Singapore and Australia said they had suspended operations of all variants of the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft into and out of their countries.

US-Bangla planned to rent Boeing 737 Max 8

US-Bangla was set to rent a Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft for 12 years through the leasing company AerCap, they said at the briefing without setting any deadline.

“No Boeing 737 Max 8 can be imported until further announcement,” Capt. Salahuddin M Rahmatullah told The Independent yesterday.

Talking to The Independent, US-Bangla spokesperson Kamrul Islam said besides the US and Canada, almost all countries of the EU and the Middle East temporarily suspended operations of the Boeing 737 Max 8.

Kamrul Islam said not only the airlines, the airport authorities and the aviation regulatory authorities of various countries have also banned the operation of the Boeing 737 Max 8.

All of them are mainly waiting for the final investigation reports of the two aircraft. They will take further action based on those reports, said Kamrul.

“We just signed the deal with the Boeing to purchase the aircraft. The tentative delivery date is one year from now. The Boeing authorities will inform us about its 737 Max model by then,” he said.

“If the production of this particular aircraft is stopped, we have nothing to say. We’ll go for an alternative,” said the US-Bangla GM.

“At this moment, we have nothing much to do, but wait for the decision of the Boeing,” he added.

What is Boeing 737 Max-8?

The Boeing 737 Max 8 is a narrow-body aircraft series designed and produced by Boeing Commercial Airplanes as the fourth generation of the Boeing 737, succeeding the Boeing 737 Next Generation (NG).

The new 737 series was launched on August 30, 2011. It performed its first flight on January 29, 2016. The new series got the FAA certification on March 8, 2017.

The Max made its debut in 2006 and over 5,000 orders have been placed with Boeing across the world.

With 34 planes in operation, Southwest Airlines (in the US) is the airline with the largest number of Boeing 737 Max 8s in the world. Air Canada and American Airlines each have 24. United Airlines does not operate any Boeing 737 Max 8, but it flies the Boeing 737 Max 9.

Most of the airlines have declared that they are monitoring the situation closely and will not speculate on the cause of the accident. Some airlines have temporarily suspended the aircraft, according to the Time.