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China on Monday ordered domestic airlines to suspend commercial operation of the Boeing 737 MAX 8, citing the Ethiopian Airlines crash and another deadly accident of that same model in Indonesia.


Noting the “similarities” between the two accidents, China’s Civil Aviation
Administration said domestic airlines had until 6:00 pm local time (1000 GMT)
to ground all 737 MAX 8 aircraft.

Operation of the model will only resume after “confirming the relevant
measures to effectively ensure flight safety”, the administration said in a
statement.

The aviation authority will contact the US Federal Aviation Administration
and Boeing, it said.

The statement cited the Kenya-bound Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed
minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa on Sunday, killing all 157 people on
board, including eight from China.

It also mentioned the Indonesia Lion Air flight, which crashed after
takeoff from Jakarta in October, killing all 189 people on board.

China is an important market for the US aircraft company, accounting for
about one-fifth of worldwide deliveries of Boeing 737 MAX models.

The company has delivered 76 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to Chinese airlines,
which have ordered another 104, according to data from the aircraft maker’s
website updated through January. Boeing and joint venture partner Commercial
Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) operate a plant in the eastern city of
Zhoushan that completes the interiors of 737 MAX planes for Chinese airlines.

The factory delivered its first MAX 8 plane to Air China in December. The
planes are assembled in Renton, Washington state, and taken to Zhoushan to
finish the interior work, according to Boeing.

 

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