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Caribbean / News / Tourism / Travel / Virgin Islands / March 11, 2019

CARIBBEAN — Cayman Airways, which purchased and had in use two of Boeing’s 737 Max 8 airplanes, on Sunday announced that it had grounded the airplanes in wake of the disastrous Ethiopian Airline accident that left 157 people dead Sunday morning.

Cayman Airways is one of 22 carriers that have grounded the Boeing model, according to a list compiled by The New York Times. Among the largest carriers were China Southern Airlines, which grounded twenty-two 737 Max Air planes.

The carriers that have grounded the 737 Max 8 model have done so in great part because in October of 2018, a 737 Max 8 plane crashed in Indonesia, killing all 189 people aboard. The crash, according to investigators, had similar traits to Sunday’s Ethiopia Airline crash.

“While the cause of this sad loss is undetermined at this time, we stand by our commitment to putting the safety of our passengers and crew first by maintaining complete and undoubtable safe operations, and as such, we have taken the decision to suspend operations of both our new Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, effective from Monday March 11, 2019, until more information is received,” said Cayman Airways president and chief executive Fabian Whorms.

Even so, a number of major airlines continue to use the aircraft, including Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, and Air Canada.

U.S. federal aviation officials said on Monday that the planes remain airworthy.

“External reports are drawing similarities between this accident and the Lion Air Flight 610 accident on October 29, 2018,” the FAA said in its notice. “However, this investigation has just begun and to date we have not been provided data to draw any conclusions or take any actions.”

The 737 Max is Boeing’s bestselling plane.

The Ethiopian Airline pilot manning the plan that went down had sent out a distress call before the crash. The victims, en route from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to Nairobi, Kenya, were from more than 35 countries and included at least 22 employees of United Nations-affiliated agencies, according to The New York Times.

Staff Consortium

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