China orders its airlines to suspend use of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft - report

China's aviation regulator has ordered domestic airlines to suspend the use of Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, Chinese media outlet Caijing reported on Monday (local time).

The news follows the crash of a 737 MAX 8 operated by Ethiopian Airlines on Sunday (local time), which is thought to have killed 157 people.

Boeing 737 MAX 8 traffic above China today compared to 24 hours ago.
Boeing 737 MAX 8 traffic above China today compared to 24 hours ago. Photo credit:

Citing industry sources familiar with the matter, Caijing said domestic airlines, which operate around 60 of the Boeing MAX 8 airplanes, had received instructions from the Civil Aviation Administration of China to stop using the aircraft.

A Boeing spokesman declined to comment. The CAAC could not be immediately reached for comment.

The Ethiopian Airlines crash is the second involving a 737 MAX 8, the latest version of Boeing's workhorse narrowbody jet that first entered service in 2017.

In October, 2018, a 737 MAX 8 flown by Indonesian budget carrier Lion Air crashed 13 minutes after take-off, killing all 189 passengers and crew on board.

Caijing, a state-run news outlet that covers finance and economics, said many flights scheduled to use 737 MAX planes would instead use the 737-800 models.

China Business News also reported on its website the 737 MAX suspension, saying the regulators' order had been issued orally.

According to flight tracking website FlightRadar24, there were no Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes flying over China as of midday Monday (NZ time).

Newshub. / Reuters