737 MAX grounded

The Boeing 737 MAX is subject to a worldwide grounding following the March 10 crash involving Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 after departure from Addis Ababa.

A US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) statement said: “The grounding will remain in effect pending further investigation, including examination of information from the aircraft’s flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders.”

The recorders were recovered from the crash site and were received by the Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety in France on March 14. The US National Transportation Safety Board and Ethiopian authorities sent investigators to assist.

The grounding affects all 737 MAX 8 and 737 MAX 9 aircraft in service as of March 14, a total of 371 aircraft. The accident in Ethiopia was the second loss of a 737 MAX 8 within six months, after Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX 8 operating Flight 610 crashed off Indonesia in October 2018. The accidents claimed a total of 346 lives.

A Boeing statement said: “We are supporting this proactive step out of an abundance of caution. Safety is a core value at Boeing. We are doing everything we can to understand the cause of the accidents.”

On March 11, two days before the grounding order, the FAA said Boeing was introducing a software update to the 737 MAX’s Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System. These updates, Boeing said in a statement, limit “stabiliser trim commands in response to an erroneous angle of attack reading” and “limit the stabiliser command in order to retain elevator authority”.