Ethiopian plane crash devastates world, sparks concerns over 737 MAX safety


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this month, an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX-8 (pictured above) crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa airport in the nation’s capital. The similarities between this crash and the Lion Air crash that occurred recently has sparked concerns over the 737 MAX-8 and MAX-9 variant’s safety.

This past October, 189 people lost their lives on Lion Air flight 610, which devastated the world as it crashed shortly after takeoff from Jakarta, Indonesia. Fast forward five months, and the world is now once again left devastated after an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX-8 crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. The similarities between these two crashes, which were both in the same aircraft, has sparked concerns over the 737 MAX safety, and has resulted in nations around the globe grounding the aircraft.

The 737 MAX is Boeing’s newest aircraft that is currently in service. With over 5,000 of these aircraft on order from nations all over the globe, this program was one of Boeing’s most successful. The 737 MAX is offered in four variants, all of which are essentially the same aircraft, but differ in length to offer airlines more seats and cabin space. Currently, only the 737 MAX-8 and MAX-9 are in the hands of airlines, while the smallest variant (MAX-7) and the largest variant (MAX-10) are still in production. All of these planes share the same avionics equipment, which caused these two devastating crashes.

“All of the [737 MAX Planes] should be recalled. They should find the problem and fix it before they send the planes into service again,” senior Darby Harris said.

Currently, only Southwest Airlines and American Airlines have the 737 MAX-8 as part of their fleets in the United States, with United Airlines operating the MAX-9. To see a complete list of airlines that have this plane in their fleet or have purchased this plane, click here.

President Trump followed nations around the world in grounding the newly introduced jetliner in the early weeks of March. Other nations grounded the jetliner well before President Trump chose to such as Canada, Argentina, and many other countries around the world. President Trump has very close ties with Boeing as he made a deal for Boeing aircraft while abroad in Vietnam in insert year here.

“The safety of the American people, of all people, is our paramount concern,” Trump told reporters when he grounded the MAX aircraft.

Boeing 737s are one of the most popular jets in the world. Most people who have flown have likely travelled on a 737 at some point in their lives. Southwest operates a 737-exclusive fleet, and is introducing the new MAX lineup soon. While the regular 737 and the 737 MAX may look the same to the average person, there are crucial differences, differences that make the MAX exponentially more unreliable than its sister aircraft, the traditional 737 jetliner. The MAX has all new engines, wings, and avionics, which are at fault for causing both of these devastating crashes.

The Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS for short, is a new system Boeing added to the MAX jets. This system caused the nose of the airplane to sharply turn downwards because it thought that the plane was stalling, or flying too slow. This sharp drop is what caused these two shocking crashes.

Currently, Boeing is working on an immediate fix for this issue. However, lawmakers and civilians are concerned, as Boeing can approve its own solutions without review from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). Approval from the FAA would restore the trust in the aircraft that Boeing needs so desperately.

“We’ve stood shoulder to shoulder in partnership with the Ethiopian team to grieve and extend our deepest sympathies to the families, friends and communities of the passengers and crew,” Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said.

Both the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air crash shocked the international community as hundreds of people lost their lives in such devastating plane crashes. Airlines and passengers alike have trusted Boeing for so many years, and many are wondering if Boeing could have fixed these problems before the aircraft even left the ground.

“Boeing stands together with all our customers and partners to earn and strengthen the flying public’s trust and confidence in us every day,” Muilenburg said.