Latest crash thrusts Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 into spotlight again
CHICAGO/WASHINGTON The latest version of Boeing's best-selling 737 family - a global industry workhorse - has again been thrust into the spotlight after a fatal crash in Ethiopia, months after a deadly crash involving an identical new jet in Indonesia.
Boeing's 737 MAX is the newest version of a jet that has been a fixture of passenger travel for decades and the cash cow of the world's largest aircraft maker, competing against Airbus SE's A320neo family of single-aisle jetliners.
Former National Transportation Safety Board chairman Mark Rosenker said the catastrophic crashes of two new airplanes soon after the 737 MAX 8 was introduced were "highly unusual" and both had broad similarities in that they went down soon after takeoff.
While it is unclear if there is a direct link, "this is now an extraordinary issue" for safety officials to grapple with and will prompt an investigation to determine if there are common issues, Mr Rosenker said.
Aviation analyst Scott Hamilton cautioned against drawing comparisons between the two crashes. Ethiopian has a strong reputation and good safety record, he said in a blog post.
Still, the crash puts fresh pressure on Boeing just days before it had planned an event to debut another aircraft.
Late on Sunday, Boeing said it would postpone the planned ceremonial debut of its 777x widebody aircraft that had been set for tomorrow in Seattle and was to be live streamed.
The company said it is focused on "supporting" Ethiopian Airlines and "will look for an opportunity to mark the new plane with the world in the near future".- REUTERS