Three Gulf states ban Boeing 737 MAX jet operations

Three Gulf states, Oman, Kuwait and the UAE, have banned operations involving the controversial Boeing 737 MAX jets, with immediate effect. The ban follows the crash of Ethiopian Airways flight ET 302 on Sunday, which killed all 157 people on board.

Flydubai, the only UAE airline operating the Boeing 737 MAX, confirmed that it had grounded its fleet of 11 MAX 8 and two MAX 9 aircraft. “Flydubai is adjusting its schedule to minimise disruption to passengers and will operate flights with its fleet of next-generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft,” a spokesperson for the airline said.

Meanwhile Kuwait’s civil aviation authority also announced a ban on 737 MAX 8 aircraft from its airspace. The authority said that “the operation of Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircrafts has been suspended for all flights including overflights until further notice.”

Oman’s public authority for civil aviation also said in a tweet that it was “temporarily suspending operations of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft into and out of all Omani airports until further notice”. State-owned Oman Air operates five 737 MAX 8 aircraft, according its website.

The Ethiopian Airlines crash this week is the second such fatal incident involving a Boeing 737 Max 8 in six months. In October, a Lion Air jet crashed into the sea shortly after take-off, killing all the 189 people on board. Several countries across the world have now grounded the MAX aircraft including the EU, South Korea, Australia, Singapore, China, Oman and Indonesia.

In a statement, manufacturer Boeing said it has “full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX”.

“We understand that regulatory agencies and customers have made decisions that they believe are most appropriate for their home markets. We’ll continue to engage with them to ensure they have the information needed to have confidence in operating their fleets,” the company said.

“The United States Federal Aviation Administration is not mandating any further action at this time, and based on the information currently available, we do not have any basis to issue new guidance to operators,” it added.

This edited article first appeared in Gulf Business

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