Carriers operating the Boeing 737 Max model that crashed in Indonesia are holding off on emergency inspections until they hear from the manufacturer
- Lion Air flight JT-610 crashed off Indonesia shortly after take-off from Jakarta
- Model was labeled ‘safest in the world’ and is utilised by many global airlines
- American Airlines and WestJet are among airlines that have Boeing 737 Max 8s
Airlines that operate the model of aircraft that was involved in the Indonesian Lion Air crash are not undertaking emergency inspections until they hear more details about what caused the tragedy from Boeing.
A 737 Max 8 operated by Lion Air crashed on Monday minutes after taking off from Jakarta, bound for Pangkal Pinang city, killing all 189 passengers and crew on board.
MailOnline contacted a number of carriers that operate the aircraft and asked if emergency inspections are being carried out in the wake of the tragedy – but they said they are all waiting to hear from Boeing.
The Lion Air aircraft crashed about 13 minutes after taking off from Indonesia (pictured is the plane)
American Airlines said that it currently has 15 737 Max 8 aircraft in its fleet but no action is currently being taken.
A spokesperson said: ‘American Airlines extends our condolences to the families and friends of those on board Lion Air 610. We continue to closely monitor the investigation via Boeing and the National Transportation Safety Board.
‘We always inspect our fleet of more than 1,500 aircraft in accordance with U.S. government regulations. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sets very strict guidelines for all U.S. commercial carriers when it comes to the safe operation and inspection of U.S. aircraft.’
WestJet also revealed that it has nine Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft in its fleet. A representative for the Canadian carrier said that the airline has not yet been informed by Boeing or the regulator that ‘any action is required or warranted’.
Tui said: ‘We are in constant contact with Boeing and we will continue to monitor the situation. So far the reason for the accident is still under investigation and we have no indication to believe that we can’t operate this aircraft type the same safe way we do with all our planes.
‘We operate five Boeing 737 Max 8 planes – four in Belgium and one in Scandinavia. All of them have been operating reliable and we had a smooth entry-into-service in January this year when the first plane was delivered.’
The Lion Air flight crashed having reached an altitude of 5,000ft
MailOnline contacted a number of carriers that operate the aircraft and asked if emergency inspections are being carried out in the wake of the tragedy – but they said they are all waiting to hear from Boeing
MORE FUEL EFFICIENT AND BETTER SEATING CAPACITY: BOEING’S 737 MAX 8
Boeing’s 737 Max 8 model replaced the similar 800 in the Chicago-based plane maker’s product line and has been ordered by carriers including American Airlines, United Airlines, Norwegian and FlyDubai.
Many consider the 737 Max 8, with a range of 3,550 nautical miles and top speed of 530mph, the darling of the aviation industry thanks in part to its suitability for the increasingly popular short-haul market.
It adds fuel efficiency and a seat capacity of 210 to the workhorse reputation of the existing single-aisle 737.
According to CNN, one of the selling points of the Max range is its Leap jet engines which Boeing says ‘redefine the future of efficient and environmentally friendly air travel.’
This, the firm says, means the 737 Max 8 is between 10 per cent to 12 per cent more efficient than their predecessors.
The plane entered service in 2017 and Boeing reportedly had trouble keeping up with a rush of orders, which have already amassed 4,700 from more than 100 airlines including Jet Airways and Norwegian Air Shuttle.
However, there were some technical hitches to begin with and Boeing suspended release of the fuel-efficient 737 Max just days before its first commercial delivery last year due to an issue with engines.
Boeing estimated 737 sales accounted for up to 40 per cent of the company’s total profits.
Other airlines that have invested in the 737 Max 8 – which flew commercially for the first time last year – include Aerolíneas Argentinas, Air Canada, Air China, Jet Airways, Norwegian Air, Oman Air and Southwest Airlines.
Ryanair told MailOnline Travel that it doesn’t currently operate the 737 Max 8, but it does have 25 on order for spring 2019.
The Lion Air plane crashed minutes after taking off and plunged into the sea from 5,000ft.
The pilot and co-pilot had more than 11,000 hours flying time between them and had undergone recent medical checkups and drug testing, the carrier said.
On its last flight – JT610 – the jet was travelling at a much faster speed than would be expected, but the pilot did not declare an emergency or attempt a water landing.
‘That might mean the plane was out of control,’ said aviation analyst Dudi Sudibyo.
Aviation experts said it was too early to determine what caused the accident.
Members of an Indonesian rescue team carry a body bag at Tanjung Priok Harbour, Indonesia, in the wake of the disaster
But investigators would look at everything from catastrophic mechanical failure and pilot error to weather conditions or unusual cockpit activity that could point to a hijacking or pilot suicide, they said.
‘Locating the so-called black boxes is most important now,’ said Terence Fan, an aviation expert at the Singapore Management University.
‘That should show how the aircraft and pilots actually behaved.’
On Monday, Lion Air acknowledged the plane had an unspecified technical issue fixed in Bali before it was flown back to Jakarta, calling it ‘normal procedure’.
Data from that flight suggested the plane may have flown erratically and a technical log circulating on social media pointed to different speed and altitude readings on the captain and first officer’s instruments.
Indonesia ordered the inspection of all Boeing 737 Max airliners on Tuesday as rescue teams recovered more victims from a brand new Lion Air jet that plunged into the sea with 189 people on board.
Relatives were seen crying as they awaited news on their loved ones
An Indonesian policeman at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta holds wreckage recovered from ill-fated Lion Air flight JT610
On a Jakarta dockside, officials took up the grim task of separating human remains from plane debris and recovered personal effects, sending the body parts – including from an infant – to hospital for DNA testing.
Authorities are trying to pinpoint the smashed jet’s location and flight data recorders expected to be crucial to the crash investigation.
Lion Air, Indonesia’s biggest budget airline which has been engaged in huge expansion, announced earlier this year it was buying 50 Boeing 737 Max 10 jets for $6.24 billion.
It currently has 10 737 Max’s in its fleet while national carrier Garuda has one.
In 2014, an AirAsia crash in the Java Sea during stormy weather killed 162 people.
Lion has been involved in a number of incidents including a fatal 2004 crash and a collision between two Lion Air planes at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta airport.
A string of fake news stories have been circulating about the crash, including one that falsely claims to show a baby who survived.
MailOnline Travel has contacted Boeing and is currently awaiting a comment.
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