SEATTLE – Boeing said it had no reason to issue new guidelines to operators who have bought its 737 MAX airliner after one crashed in Ethiopia, prompting China to ground the country’s entire fleet of that model, the aircraft manufacturer said in a statement on Monday.
An Ethiopian Airlines flight traveling from Addis Ababa to Nairobi in Kenya crashed shortly after takeoff on Sunday, killing all 157 occupants an airline spokesperson confirmed, making it the second 737 MAX 8 to crash in similar circumstances within five months.
“The investigation is in its early stages, but at this point, based on the information available, we do not have any basis to issue new guidance to operators,” Boeing said in a statement on Monday.
The jetliner’s pilot reported an unspecified problem with his aircraft moments after taking off and asked to return to the Ethiopian capital’s Bole International Airport, a request that was granted, the airline said.
Six minutes after takeoff, communications with the airliner were lost, and the plane plunged to the ground near Bishoftu, just south of Addis Ababa, where wreckage was strewn across the ground.
“Boeing is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the passengers and crew on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a 737 MAX 8 airplane,” the aircraft manufacturer said in a statement. “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.”
Boeing added that a technical team would be traveling to the crash site to provide technical assistance under the direction of the Ethiopia Accident Investigation Bureau and United States National Transportation Safety Board.
Boeing acknowledged that China and Ethiopia had grounded all 737 MAX in service in the countries.
“Along with China, Ethiopian Airlines also suspended operation of its 737 MAX fleet after one of the planes crashed Sunday, killing all 157 people aboard the flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi,” Boeing said in a statement.
“The cause of the crash is still under investigation,” the Seattle-based aircraft manufacturer said.
Boeing said it had engaged with customers and regulators about any concerns they had.
“We are taking every measure to fully understand all aspects of this accident, working closely with the investigating team and all regulatory authorities involved,” the plane maker said.
The accident in Africa came less than five months after a Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed in Indonesia shortly after takeoff, killing all 189 people on that flight.