SINGAPORE - The suspension of Boeing 737 Max flights will continue until the authorities are "fully satisfied" all safety concerns have been adequately addressed, but other Boeing jets can operate as usual, said Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary.
"There is currently no evidence of safety issues with other Boeing aircraft," he said in Parliament on Monday (April 1).
As for the B-787 Max, he said: "CAAS (Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore) will only lift the suspension when it is fully satisfied that all safety concerns relating to the aircraft type have been adequately addressed. During the suspension, CAAS will not allow airlines to register new Boeing 737 Max aircraft."
Dr Janil, replying to Ms Cheng Li Hui (Tampines GRC), stressed: "In aviation, ensuring the safety of passengers and crew is paramount."
Singapore Airlines' regional arm, SilkAir, has six B-737 Max planes in its fleet.
As a result of the suspension, the airline has had to cancel or adjust some flights, affecting about 300 passengers a day, he said.
The passengers have been offered refunds or the option to be rebooked on other flights.
If the suspension continues, more flights may be cancelled, Dr Janil said.
Four foreign airlines were also operating B-737 Max aircraft to Singapore.
As they have limited services to Singapore, they have been able to maintain normal operations using other aircraft types, except Shandong Airlines, which has had to suspend its operations to Singapore.
Dr Janil said: "CAAS will continue to work with the Changi Airport Group, SIA and SilkAir, and other affected airlines to minimise the impact on passengers."
The authority has been communicating closely with Boeing and the United States Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), as well as other leading regulators, including the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, on the safety issues of the B-737 Max aircraft, he added.
Even as investigations into what caused the crash are ongoing, Boeing has decided to introduce a design change to the aircraft's Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System as soon as it gets the go-ahead from the FAA and other leading aviation regulators.
"CAAS is closely monitoring this, and will ensure that SilkAir incorporates the fix once it is available," Dr Janil said.