Wednesday, March 13, 2019
By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
CIVIL Aviation officials yesterday confirmed the country does not have any Boeing 737 MAX airplanes in its registry following the model’s fatal plane crash in Ethiopia over the weekend.
However, there are MAX 8 planes with routes to the Bahamas operated by Southwest Airlines. According to international reports, flight attendants from Southwest Airlines and ground crews have asked the company to take the airplane model out of service.
Up to press time, more than six countries had moved to ground the model with temporary suspensions as investigations into Sunday’s crash - which claimed the life of 157 passengers - continue.
Seven countries had suspended the whole Boeing 737 MAX range up to press time.
Yesterday, Safety Oversight Manager Juliea Brathwaite-Rolle said it was still too premature to determine the cause of the crash, but noted the Civil Aviation Authority was closely monitoring the incident.
She explained while other countries have taken precautionary measures, the crash investigation was still in its preliminary stages for the American manufactured airplane.
“As it stands right now, everybody is waiting for more information before any decisions are made,” Ms Brathwaite-Rolle said.
According to reports, the new Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane had just taken off from the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa when the pilot reported technical problems and asked for permission to turn back. It crashed six minutes after takeoff, and marks the second crash for this model in less than six months.
Last October, 189 people were killed when a new Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX 8 went down over the Java Sea off Indonesia.
In February, Bahamasair commissioned a new Boeing 737-790NG jet, an $11.4m investment with a seating capacity of 138 and a flying range of over five hours. It also seats 18 more seats than its “sister jets”.
The acquisition of the new aircraft brought the fleet count to nine: four jets and five turbo props.
Bahamasair’s Managing Director Tracy Cooper said the national airline does not have the model in question in its fleet.
“The 737 Max are the brand new 737s that are just rolling off of the assembly line and Bahamasair doesn’t have any of those models in its fleet. So consumers do not have anything to worry about,” Mr Cooper said.
The UK, Oman, Singapore, Australia, Ireland, France and Norwegian Airlines have suspended the whole Boeing 737 MAX range, according to CNN.
China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Iceland, Germany and the airlines: TUI Airways, GOL Linhas Aereas, Aeromexico, Aerolíneas Argentinas, Cayman Airways, Comair Airways, Eastar Jet, Jet Airways, Mongolian Airlines, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Lion Air and Silkair have reportedly suspended the MAX 8 model.
Turkey and Poland have suspended the 737 MAX 8 and 9.
Airlines still flying 737 MAX planes include: American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Fiji Airways, Icelandair, Flydubai, Spicejet and WestJet.