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NZ suspends Boeing 737 MAX – Expert Reaction

The Civil Aviation Authority has temporarily suspended Boeing 737 MAX aircraft from travelling in and out of New Zealand.

The move came after an Ethiopia Airlines flight en route to Nairobi crashed on Sunday (local time) six minutes after taking off from Addis Ababa, tragically killing all 157 people on board.

While the suspension here affects only one operator in New Zealand, Fiji Airways, New Zealand it not unique in its position. China was first to enforce the ban and, according to CNN, the US and Canada are the only countries still allowing these aircraft to fly.

The SMC asked experts to comment on the suspension.

Ashok Poduval, Chief Executive, School of Aviation, Massey University, comments:

“The aviation industry, like many others, is heavily regulated and operates on the basis of risk management. There can never be a guarantee of zero risk in any transportation industry. Civil aviation authorities make decisions based on assessment of risk with safety of the travelling public being paramount. The fact that so many countries across the world have made the decision to temporarily suspend operation of this type of aircraft would suggest that they consider the risk significant enough to stop the B737 Max 8 from flying within their jurisdiction until, possibly, at least a preliminary investigation report of the Ethiopian Airlines crash is received.

“Naturally this is likely to have an impact on Boeing Airplane Company as adverse publicity is never helpful and could lead to demand for compensation from the airlines who have acquired this fleet, since it is a relatively new aircraft. Boeing has a statement dated 12 March 2019 on their website where they have stated that the US FAA is not mandating any further action at this time, and based on the information currently available, they do not have any basis to issue new guidance to operators.”

No conflict of interest declared.

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