In the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines aircraft fatal crash in which a Boeing 737 MAX 8 Crashed few minutes after take-off en route to Nairobi killing all the 157 on board, there has been rising interest on the safety of this popular aircraft model.
Safety issues have previously been raised after a Lion Air flight in Indonesia operating the same aircraft model plunged into the Java Sea last year October, killing all 189 people onboard.
While investigations are underway to confirm what could have caused the Ethiopian Airlines aircraft to crash some few minutes after take-off, preliminary findings highlighted a possible sensor problem 737 MAX 8 that could have resulted into crashing of Lion Air flight prompting Boeing to issue an operational safety bulletins, advising airlines how to address erroneous cockpit readings
But while the investigations are still ongoing, should passengers be worried about flying on a 737 MAX?
What is the Boeing 737 MAX?
Boeing 737 MAX 8 is the latest upgrade in Boeing’s long line of 737 family that has been operating since the 1960s. The 737 MAX has been touted as having the most advanced aerodynamics and fuel-efficient engines.
The Boeing 737 MAX series of planes come in four variants numbered 7, 8, 9 and 10. The 8 series is the one which was involved in the crash in Indonesia and now Ethiopian Airlines and has a capacity of up to 172 passengers with a high-density version seating up to 200 passengers in a single class high-density configuration with slimline seats.
The 737 Max is mostly used for short and medium distance flights and has a longer range than earlier versions of the 737.
Which airlines are flying the 737 MAX?
It is the fastest-selling airplane in Boeing history having accumulated more than 5,000 orders from more than 100 customers worldwide.
The top three identified airline customers for the 737 MAX are Southwest Airlines with 280 orders, flydubai with 251 orders, and Lion Air with 251 orders. In Africa, only Ethiopian Airlines and Mauritania Airlines have 737 Max in their fleets with Arik Air waiting for delivery.
There are several airlines across Europe, Asia, and South America including China Southern, Oman Air, Qatar, Air Canada, Korean Air, Icelandair, Aerolíneas Argentinas, and LOT Polish Airlines.
Is 737 MAX Safe?
No airline has grounded their 737 MAX in the wake of the two accidents. While this second accident might raise more questions for the investigators, Boeing report on Statistical Summary of Commercial Jet Airplane Accidents shows that previous generation of 737s: the 600 through 900 models have high safety records.