China on Monday ordered domestic airlines to suspend commercial operation of the Boeing 737 MAX 8, citing the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight of that model after takeoff from Addis Ababa. Operation of the 737 MAX 8 aircraft will resume after "confirming the relevant measures to effectively ensure flight safety", China's Civil Aviation Administration said in a statement. According to an aviation website ‘The Air Current’, Chinese airlines make up fully one-third of all 737 deliveries and is Boeing’s most important and strategic customer. In another related development, Cayman Airways have also suspended the Boeing operations.
Though Boeing has not issued any comment on the current situation, the aviation giant did release a statement on Ethiopian crash. “Boeing is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the passengers and crew on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a 737 MAX 8 airplane. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew on board and stand ready to support the Ethiopian Airlines team. A Boeing technical team will be travelling to the crash site to provide technical assistance under the direction of the Ethiopia Accident Investigation Bureau and U.S. National Transportation Safety Board,” the statement read.
On Sunday, a Nairobi-bound Ethiopian Airlines Boeing crashed minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa Sunday, killing all eight crew and 149 passengers on board, including four Indians, tourists, business travellers, and "at least a dozen" UN staff. Ethiopia has declared a national day of mourning for Monday amid a global stream of condolences for loved ones, many of whom gathered in tears at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). "The House of People's Representatives have declared March 11, 2019, a national day of mourning for citizens of all countries that have passed in this tragic accident," Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's office said on Twitter.
Identities of the victims from 35 countries started to emerge as foreign governments and the United Nations reacted with shock. Four Indians are also among those who have lost their lives in the crash. "Deeply saddened by the news this morning of the plane crash in Ethiopia, claiming the lives of all on board. My heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of all the victims - including our own @UN staff - who perished in this tragedy," tweeted UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
The passengers included "at least a dozen" UN-affiliated staff headed for an annual assembly of the UN Environment Programme, which opens in Nairobi Monday with some 4,700 heads of state, ministers, business leaders, senior UN officials and civil society representatives, a UN source told AFP.