HONG KONG – Hong Kong authorities announced on Wednesday they will be temporarily banning all Boeing B737 MAX aircrafts from its airspace, following an Ethiopian Airlines flight crash that had killed all 157 people on board.
“The CAD has decided to temporarily prohibit operation of Boeing B737 MAX aircraft into, out of and over Hong Kong. The temporary prohibition will take effect at 6pm Hong Kong time on March 13 and continue until further notice,” the Civil Aviation Department said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The temporary prohibition is solely a precautionary measure to ensure aviation safety and protect the public,” the statement added.
At least two companies will be affected by the decision: Spicejet, an Indian airline that flies from New Delhi to Hong Kong and Russia’s Globus Airlines – of the S7 group – that flies between Novosibirsk and Hong Kong, the statement said.
“The CAD has contacted the two airline companies regarding the temporary prohibition. The two companies concerned expressed that they would fully co-operate and maintain their services with other aircraft types so as to reduce impacts on passengers,” the statement said further.
“During the temporary prohibition, CAD will continue to closely monitor the developments and the information of relevant aviation authorities,” the statement said.
India, New Zealand and Malaysia had earlier on Wednesday announced the suspension and grounding of their Boeing 737 MAX aircraft planes.
“In continuation to the decision of DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) to ground the B737 Max operations (...) no B737 Max aircraft will be allowed to enter or transit Indian airspace effective 1600 hrs IST or 1030 UTC. The timeline is to cater to situations where aircraft can be positioned at maintenance facilities & international flights can reach their destinations,” the Ministry had tweeted earlier on Wednesday.
In the last two days, Ethiopia, China, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Singapore, and Mongolia, among other countries, have also reported suspension of flights which used the Boeing model.
On Sunday, the Nairobi-bound Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 had crashed soon after taking off from Addis Ababa International Airport.
After six minutes of flight, the pilot reported difficulties and requested a return to the airport but despite receiving clearance, the plane crashed about 42 kilometers (26 miles) south-east of Addis Ababa, killing everyone on board.
On Oct. 29, 2018, another Boeing 737 MAX of the Indonesian airline Lion Air had crashed into the Java Sea minutes after taking off from Jakarta with 189 occupants.