Korean Air grounds Boeing 737 Max 8 planes until safety proven

By Ma. Cristina Arayata

March 14, 2019, 3:16 pm

MANILA -- South Korea's flag carrier Korean Air (KE) on Thursday announced it would not operate Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft "until safety is perfectly secured".

"It's our own initiative. For now, the South Korean government has ordered Eastar Jet to suspend the operation of B737 Max 8, as it currently operates two units of it," So Yeon Park, Korean Air's Global Communication Team assistant manager, told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

Park earlier bared that KE would have six units of the B737 Max 8 for this year, and was supposed to introduce it starting April.

The carrier announced Thursday that it would substitute the B737 Max 8 with other aircraft for the routes that have originally been on its operation plan.

Park noted that KE will wait for investigation results and until authorities declare Max 8 is safe to use.

Despite moves of various countries to temporarily suspend Boeing 737 Max 8, the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) said it still considers the aircraft airworthy, citing that the accidents involving this type of aircraft are still under investigation.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines earlier said it is not keen on grounding B737 Max 8 flights to and from the country, unless requested by the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Last Sunday, an Ethiopian Airlines flight to Nairobi crashed six minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people on board.

In October 2018, a Lion Air flight using the same type of aircraft also crashed in Indonesia, killing 189 people onboard. According to reports, the crash also happened minutes after the takeoff. (PNA)