UPDATE | Growing number of Boeing Max 8 planes grounded
BEIJING (AP) — Boeing’s stock plunged 8 percent Monday morning as aviation authorities in China, Indonesia and Ethiopia ordered airlines to ground their Boeing 737 Max 8 planes the day after one crashed in Ethiopia, killing all 157 people on board.
The crash of the Ethiopian Airlines jet shortly after it took off from Addis Ababa on Sunday is drawing renewed scrutiny of the plane just four months after a similar crash of the same model that killed 189 people in Indonesia.
Chicago-based Boeing said it did not intend to issue any new guidance to its customers. It does plan to send a technical team to the crash site to help Ethiopian and U.S. investigators.
The 737 is the best-selling airliner in history, and the Max, the newest version of it with more fuel-efficient engines, is a central part of Boeing’s strategy to compete with European rival Airbus.
“Safety is our number one priority and 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 company said in a statement.
Boeing’s stock fell to $388.21 in morning trading.
A spokesman for Ethiopian Airlines, Asrat Begashaw, said the carrier had grounded its remaining four 737 Max 8 planes until further notice as an “extra safety precaution.”
The airline had been using five new 737 Max 8s and awaiting delivery of 25 more. Asrat said the search for body parts and debris from the crash was continuing.
China’s Civil Aviation Administration said that it ordered airlines to ground all 737 Max 8 aircraft, in line with the principle of “zero tolerance for security risks.”
It said it would issue further notices after consulting with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing.
Chinese carriers and leasing companies operate 96 Boeing 737 8 MAXs, according to the government, with dozens more believed to be on order. China Southern Airlines is one of Boeing’s biggest customers for the aircraft.
Indonesia also grounded 11 737 Max 8s for inspections to ensure flight safety and that the planes are airworthy, said Director General of Air Transportation Polana B. Pramesti.
Cayman Airways also said it was temporarily grounding two Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.
Real time flight radar apps showed dozens of the aircraft still operating around the globe.