Mexico’s top airline has grounded its fleet of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, following in the footsteps of China and other countries that have fully or partially suspended the planes’ flights in the wake of the crash in Ethiopia.
Aeromexico, Mexico’s flag carrier airline, has announced that it is temporarily suspending operation of its six Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft “until it has conclusive information about the investigation into the unfortunate accident with flight ET302,” which killed 157 people.
The airline said that it has been in constant contact with the US-based plane manufacturer and the relevant aviation authorities.
“For Aeromexico, the safety and comfort of its passengers is the most important thing,” it said in a statement, noting that other aircraft would cover the flights that were supposed to be flown by their Boeing 737 MAX 8s.
Aeromexico is just one of the airlines that have decided to ground Boeing’s newest machine, due to safety concerns following the crash on Sunday, that happened less than five months after another Boeing 737 MAX 8 plunged into the sea off Indonesia, killing 189 passengers and crew on board.
Amid speculation that the tragedies could have been caused by the same faulty software, aviation authorities in Ethiopia, China and Indonesia ordered the grounding of all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft on Monday, with the Chinese regulator noting similarities between the two accidents.
“Both [crashes] occurred during take-off and have certain similarities,” it said.
Several other countries and certain airlines followed suit. The Civil Aviation Authority of Mongolia issued a similar order in respect to state-owned Mongolian Airlines, which operates one Boeing 737 MAX and is awaiting three more.
Cayman Airlines and Royal Air Maroc, Morocco’s national carrier, also reportedly grounded its only Boeing 737 MAX on Sunday, pending the results of the investigations.
Meanwhile, the US Federal Aviation Authority, which is the official certifying authority of the US-based aerospace manufacturer, has reaffirmed the MAX’s airworthiness on Monday, arguing that it is too early to speculate whether the Ethiopia and Indonesia crashes had been caused by a common technical issue.
However, it demanded the company make several upgrades by April, such as updating its flight control software and the maneuvering system, as well as training requirements and flight crew manuals, to reflect the changes.