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Following the tragic incident involving an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX on Sunday, the UK Civil Aviation Authority has suspended the aircraft type from operating within UK airspace.
A spokesperson for the CAA said:
“Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by the tragic incident in Ethiopia on Sunday.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority has been closely monitoring the situation, however, as we do not currently have sufficient information from the flight data recorder we have, as a precautionary measure, issued instructions to stop any commercial passenger flights from any operator arriving, departing or overflying UK airspace.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority’s safety directive will be in place until further notice.
We remain in close contact with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and industry regulators globally.“
Similar action has been taken by the relevant authorities in China, Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia, South Korea and elsewhere, leading to about half of the 737 MAX aircraft currently in service being grounded.
From a UK perspective, this presents an immediate problem for Norwegian and TUI, both of which operate a significant number of 737 MAXs.
Norwegian has released a statement for those who have booked flights:
Following the decision by the relevant aviation regulatory bodies to temporarily suspend operations of Boeing 737 MAX, Norwegian will not operate any flights with this aircraft type until further notice.
All aircraft that are currently airborne will continue to destination or return to home base. We are now working on re-allocating our fleet options with other aircraft types, re-bookings to other flights and combining flights to minimise inconvenience caused for our passengers. We would like to apologise to customers who are affected, but the safety and security of our customers and colleagues will never be compromised. Affected passengers will be informed via SMS and our web pages.
This suspension is likely to cause a serious headache for both TUI and Norwegian as this suspension could go on for a long time (potentially months). If you need to rebook, be proactive about it – don’t wait for the airline to contact you. As always, be friendly and polite, but also firm if required.