Tue, Mar 12, 2019 - Page 2 News List

CAA waiting for word on ill-fated Boeing jet model

UNDER SUSPICION:Several airlines that offer cross-strait flights as well as a Thai carrier that flies to Taipei have Boeing 737 MAX-series aircraft in their fleets

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) yesterday said that it is monitoring announcements from Boeing Co and the US government regarding Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft after two of the jetliners operated by two different carriers crashed over the past six months.

None of the nation’s international carriers have the aircraft in their fleets, the agency said.

China Airlines had announced plans to purchase single-aisle aircraft, but it has yet to determine which model to acquire.

Far Eastern Air Transport last year said that it would add two 737-8 MAX aircraft to its fleet in the fourth quarter of this year and that it would buy six more.

However, the company said it is cautiously assessing the plan following the accidents and is waiting for an official report from Boeing before making any changes to the plan.

The safety of the new aircraft came under scrutiny after an 737-8 MAX operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed six minutes after departing Addis Ababa on Sunday, killing all 157 passengers on board.

It was the second accident involving the model. In October last year, a 737-8 MAX aircraft operated by Indonesian budget airline Lion Air crashed into the sea after departing Jakarta, killing all 189 on board.

Following the plane crash in Indonesia, the US Federal Aviation Agency on Nov. 8 last year issued an emergency airworthiness directive.

The directive “was prompted by analysis performed by the manufacturer showing that if an erroneously high single angle of attack sensor input is received by the flight control system, there is a potential for repeated nose-down trim commands of the horizontal stabilizer,” the US agency said.

“This condition, if not addressed, could cause the flight crew to have difficulty controlling the airplane, and lead to excessive nose-down attitude, significant altitude loss and possible impact with terrain,” it said.

Ethiopian Airlines and Cayman Airways grounded all of their 737-8 MAX aircraft following Sunday’s crash.

China’s Civil Aviation Administration yesterday ordered domestic airlines to suspend the operation of the aircraft until after “confirming the relevant measures to effectively ensure flight safety.”

Several cross-strait flight operators, such as Air China, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines, have 737-8 MAX aircraft in their fleets.

Thai Lion Air said it sometimes dispatches Boeing 737-9 MAX aircraft on flights between Taipei and Bangkok.

Civil aviation authorities are entitled to ground the aircraft, the CAA said, but added that Taiwan cannot unilaterally ban certain aircraft from entering its airspace or landing at its airports.

It said it would closely watch any information from the US and Boeing regarding the aircraft, adding that it does not exclude the possibility of asking Boeing for information to help asses the safety of similar models, including 737-600s, 737-800s and the 737 MAX series, it said.

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