SilkAir operating Boeing 737 Max 8 planes as scheduled; monitoring situation following Ethiopian Airlines crash

SilkAir operates six Boeing 737 Max 8 planes. An SIA spokesman said it is monitoring the situation closely.
SilkAir operates six Boeing 737 Max 8 planes. An SIA spokesman said it is monitoring the situation closely.PHOTO: SILKAIR

SINGAPORE - SilkAir said its Boeing 737 Max 8 planes are operating as scheduled and that it is monitoring the situation closely following the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane on Sunday.

The regional wing of Singapore Airlines (SIA) said on Monday (March 11) that it operates six Boeing 737 Max 8 planes - the same model as the Ethiopian Airlines plane which went down shortly after take-off on Sunday morning, killing all 157 people on board.

A Lion Air plane of the same model crashed in Indonesia in October last year.

An SIA spokesman told The Straits Times that SilkAir is in contact with Boeing and is monitoring developments closely, adding that SilkAir's 737 Max 8 flights are operating as scheduled.

These fly to Bengaluru, Cairns, Darwin, Hiroshima, Hyderabad, Chongqing, Kathmandu, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Phnom Penh, Phuket and Wuhan.

"We are saddened by the loss of flight ET302 and our hearts go out to all those affected," the spokesman added. "The safety of our passengers and crew is of utmost importance to SilkAir."

The Ethiopian Airlines flight left Bole airport in Addis Ababa at 8.38am local time on Sunday, before losing contact with the control tower six minutes later.

The pilot had alerted controllers, saying he was experiencing "difficulties" and wanted to turn back, the head of Ethiopian Airlines said, in circumstances similar to the Lion Air crash in which the pilot had also asked to return to the airport soon after take-off. The Lion Air jet crashed near Jakarta, minutes after take-off, killing all 189 on board. The cause of that crash is still under investigation.

Flight ET302 crashed near the town of Bishoftu, 62km south-east of Addis Ababa, the airline said.

 
 
 

The airline said that the plane was nearly new and had no recorded technical problems, and that the pilot had an "excellent" flying record.

In response to the crash, China grounded its entire domestic fleet of 96 Boeing 737 Max 8 planes, according to a report by Bloomberg.

In Indonesia, state airliner Garuda Indonesia carried out additional inspections on its Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.

The 737 is the world's best-selling modern passenger aircraft and one of the industry's most reliable.

A preliminary report into the October Lion Air crash focused on airline maintenance and training and the response of a Boeing anti-stall system to a recently replaced sensor, but did not give a reason for the crash.

Since then, the cockpit voice recorder has been recovered and a final report is due later this year.