Rescuers work at the scene where an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed, near Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, south of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, March 11, 2019. (MULUGETA AYENE / AP)
ADDIS ABABA/SHANGHAI/BEIJING/SEOUL/ULAANBAATAR/JOHANNESBURG — Ethiopian Airlines has grounded all of its Boeing Co 737 Max 8 aircraft as "an extra safety precaution" following the crash of one of its planes in which 157 people were killed, a spokesman said Monday.
Although it wasn't yet known what caused the crash of the new plane in clear weather outside Addis Ababa on Sunday, the airline decided to ground its remaining four 737 Max 8s until further notice, spokesman Asrat Begashaw said. Ethiopian Airlines was using five of the planes and was awaiting delivery of 25 more.
Safety is our number one priority and we are taking every measure to fully understand all aspects of this accident, working closely with the investigating team and all regulatory authorities involved.
Boeing, however, said the investigation into the crash is in its early stages and there is no need to issue new guidance to operators of its 737 MAX 8 aircraft based on the information it has so far.
"Safety is our number one priority and we are taking every measure to fully understand all aspects of this accident, working closely with the investigating team and all regulatory authorities involved," a Boeing spokesman said in a statement emailed to Reuters.
Shares of Boeing slid 9 percent in early trading Monday as many airlines grounded the planemaker's best selling 737 MAX 8 passenger jet following the second deadly crash involving the plane.
China ordered its airlines to suspend operations of their 737 MAX 8 jets by 6 pm (1000 GMT) over safety concerns.
Mongolia's Civil Aviation Authority also ordered the country's national air carrier MIAT to suspend its 737 MAX aircraft operations, and Caribbean carrier Cayman Airways also said it was temporarily grounding the two 737 Max 8 aircraft it operates.
Some others around the world were deciding to do the same.
Indonesia’s air safety regulator said it’s discussing the possibility of grounding the Boeing planes, while South African airline Comair Ltd said it will monitor investigations into Sunday's crash.
This AFP graphic shows flight data on the altitude and speed of Ethiopian Airlines ET302 before it crashed on March 10, 2019, shortly after takeoff.
In South Korea, local media reported the transport ministry ordered an emergency safety check on 737 MAX 8 jets operated by the country's low-cost carrier Eastar Jet.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport sent a team of officials to probe the autopilot and other systems of the two B737 MAX 8 passenger planes run by the South Korean budget carrier. The carrier introduced the two Boeing planes late last year and early this year, using them on routes to Japan and Southeast Asian countries.
Other South Korean air carriers, including the biggest Korean Air Lines and the budget carrier T'way Air, are slated to introduce the Boeing jets later this year, according to Yonhap news agency.
HONG KONG NEWS