After the second crash of a 737 MAX 8 plane in less than five months, the aviation authorities in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Australia, Indonesia, China and other countries have now ordered that none of the planes fly in their airspace.
A growing number of airlines around the globe have announced they won’t fly the planes until they know what happened in Sunday’s fatal crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jet, which killed all aboard. The cause of Sunday’s crash is still under investigation. It follows an October crash in which pilots on a Lion Air flight fought an automatic safety system for control of the plane.
“Not grounding the jets puts Boeing in a very bad light,” said Mary Schiavo, a CNN aviation analyst and former inspector general for the US Transportation Department.
If Boeing ordered a global grounding of the more than three hundred 737 MAX planes in service, and if it halted deliveries of the new jets, it would give the company more control of a situation that is quickly spiraling out of its control, Schiavo said.
“Airlines and countries all over the world are saying this is ridiculous,” she added.
Other experts say it will be difficult for Boeing to ground the planes — and grounding the flights might not be the right decision, no matter the public pressure.
“If Boeing and and the FAA feel a plane is airworthy, then why order a grounding?” said Carter Copeland, analyst with Melius Research.
But the longer Boeing waits to act, the more pressure will build from aviation authorities around the world, and perhaps even at the FAA.