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Civil Aviation Authority not grounding Max 8 planes in New Zealand

Author
Grant Bradley, NZ Herald,
Section
Business,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 12 March 2019, 2:30p.m.
The Boeing 737 MAX 8 has come under scrutiny after being linked to two plane crashes. (Photo / Getty)
The Boeing 737 MAX 8 has come under scrutiny after being linked to two plane crashes. (Photo / Getty)

New Zealand's aviation safety authority isn't taking any action on Boeing 737MAX 8 aircraft in spite of other regulators around the world grounding the planes following the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

The Civil Aviation Authority says it is satisfied with the steps the only operator of the plane to this country, Fiji Airways, has taken to ensure safety.

''The CAA is not planning any action at this time to restrict the operation of Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft to New Zealand,'' a spokesman said.

''We will continue to closely monitor the progress of the safety investigation of the recent Ethiopian Airlines accident to determine if there are facts or contributing factors which would cause us to review our position.''

The authority would continue to liaise with other international authorities to ensure an "informed response was taken should the situation change".

Fiji Airways currently flies the Boeing 737 MAX 8 to Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland. The airline says it's monitoring the situation.

At this stage, Flight Centre New Zealand have told Newstalk ZB that they have not had any customers cancel travel because of the tragedy.

Chinese and Indonesian aviation authorities have ordered the grounding of MAX 8s and Cayman Airways and Ethiopian Airways have chosen to park their planes following the crash on Sunday, killing all 157 passengers and crew on board.

There are about 350 of the aircraft in operation and the crash was the second one in six months of the MAX 8. The first was a Lion Air plane in Indonesia which raised the possibility of anti-stall software being erroneously activated by incorrect flight data.

China's Civil Aviation Administration said in a statement it would notify airlines as to when they could resume flying the jets after contacting Boeing and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ensure flight safety.

"Given that two accidents both involved newly delivered Boeing 737-8 planes and happened during take-off phase, they have some degree of similarity," the administration has said.

Boeing issued new pilot guidelines after the Lion Air crash and Fiji Airways said like with all its aircraft, it had followed a comprehensive induction and training process for the new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft.

''Our Boeing 737 pilots and cabin crew receive extensive training, above the mandated level set for the MAX 8 by the manufacturer. This includes ongoing simulator training into aircraft differences and identified scenarios. As such, we have full confidence in the airworthiness of our entire fleet,'' said a spokesman.

The airline uses MAXs on the Nadi-Wellington route.

North American airlines are the biggest operators of MAX 8s, the latest model of the 737 which has been a reliable workhorse of many carriers for the past 50 years.

Air New Zealand used to have 737s but has switched to Airbus A320s and A321s for its domestic jet and short haul international operations. Jetstar also uses A320s here and Qantas uses earlier model 737s across the Tasman.

Virgin Australia also uses earlier model 737s but has 40 MAX planes on order.

 

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