Boeing should ground the 737 Max 8

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A Boeing 737 MAX 8 sits outside the hangar during a media tour of the Boeing 737 MAX at the Boeing plant in Renton, Washington, the United States, Dec. 8, 2015. xinhuanet/REUTERS

China’s Civil Aviation Administration announced it would suspend operations for all Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft. This is perhaps the first grounding decision made at the national level following the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight over the weekend. The suspension will result in huge losses, but it’s people’s lives that matter more.

Two Boeing 737s have crashed under similar circumstances within five months. The incidents raise questions over the new aircraft’s problems. So far, very little has emerged from the US regarding the plane. Reaction from the US media has been softer than the tone that was used after the high-speed train crash in Wenzhou on July 23, 2011, with reports that raised doubt over the safety of China’s advanced rail system.

Hopefully, Boeing will launch a full-scale investigation into what caused the crashes and discover all possible loopholes. The US plane manufacturer should also compensate the airline companies in China and elsewhere affected by the 737 grounding.

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The cause of the Ethiopian Airlines crash remains unknown, but risks associated with the 737 Max 8 cannot be ignored. At this juncture, Boeing should take the initiative and issue a worldwide suspension the aircraft and shoulder the economic losses that would incur.

Under no circumstances should the 737 Max 8 resume operations until airline safety inspectors have pinpointed the reasons for the crashes and then make sure every plane is free of any risk. Such action would be viewed as the responsible thing to do.

A Boeing 737 Max 8 can carry over 100 passengers, so when it crashes, it’s a devastating loss of life. Waiting for investigation results to come in before carrying out safety measures is not an option. It is imperative that precautionary efforts are implemented immediately.

Despite competition from plane manufacturer Airbus, Boeing has held what could be considered a worldwide monopoly within the global airline market. The company’s position should require that it shoulder greater responsibilities than other manufacturing giants and not in an attempt to weaken its efforts but rather to remove the risks found in their irreplaceable products.

On two occasions in less than six months, a new Boeing 737 Max-8 has crashed shortly after takeoff. This rate of frequency has shocked the public worldwide. Every airline that uses a Boeing airplane should send their people to the company’s manufacturing headquarters to receive training if necessary. Whether it is discovered the crashes were caused by design defects or incomplete training, people will have reason to doubt that Boeing was responsible.

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Following the Lion Air crash in Indonesia, Boeing officials said that investigators had found one of the “angle of attack” sensors on the 737 Max-8 had transmitted incorrect data. Rather than worrying about losing money, Boeing needs to ground every 737 Max-8 worldwide.

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