Holiday giant TUI refuses to ground its fleet of Boeing 737 Max 8 planes

Britain’s only airline to operate Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft – the plane which crashed in Ethiopia on Sunday killing 157 people, and in Indonesia in October killing 189 – has insisted it will not ground its fleet.

Airlines in China, Mexico, Ethiopia, Brazil and South Africa have all resolved to keep their 737 Max 8 planes in hangers pending safety reviews.

But in Britain, holiday operator Tui Airways are still flying theirs and the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said that the Max 8 could continue to operate from Britain.

A spokesman said: ‘TUI Airways remain in close contact with the manufacturer and regulatory authorities and we have no indication that we cannot safely operate our 737 MAX aircraft. The safety and wellbeing of our customers and staff remains our primary concern.’

TUI's fleet of Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes (pictured) will continue to fly, the company said

TUI's fleet of Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes (pictured) will continue to fly, the company said

TUI’s fleet of Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes (pictured) will continue to fly, the company said

US plane maker Boeing is facing questions over the safety of one of its key aircraft models

US plane maker Boeing is facing questions over the safety of one of its key aircraft models

US plane maker Boeing is facing questions over the safety of one of its key aircraft models

China - an important market for Boeing - became the first country to ground the 737 MAX 8 on Monday. Ethiopian Airlines did the same, saying the decision came as an 'extra safety precaution'

China - an important market for Boeing - became the first country to ground the 737 MAX 8 on Monday. Ethiopian Airlines did the same, saying the decision came as an 'extra safety precaution'

China – an important market for Boeing – became the first country to ground the 737 MAX 8 on Monday. Ethiopian Airlines did the same, saying the decision came as an ‘extra safety precaution’

former pilot and Labour peer Lord Tunnicliffe, urged the Government to ground the planes

former pilot and Labour peer Lord Tunnicliffe, urged the Government to ground the planes

former pilot and Labour peer Lord Tunnicliffe, urged the Government to ground the planes

TUI and Norwegian are the only airlines that currently fly the aircraft in Britain. TUI owns 15 of the planes, flying out of Manchester. 

Norwegian, which operates flights from London Gatwick and Edinburgh, has 18 of the planes.

Tui ordered 32 Max aircraft as part of a major fleet overhaul and took delivery of its first Max 8 in December. 

It was the first UK-registered airline to receive one of the new Boeing aircraft and plans to roll out its orders over the next five years.

A spokesman for the UK Civil Aviation Authority said there are currently five MAX 8s registered and operational in Britain with a sixth aircraft due to enter operation for Tui later this week.

Transport minister Baroness Sugg said the Civil Aviation Authority was working closely with the European Aviation Safety Agency.

She said: ‘The current position is more information is needed to warrant any grounding decision.’

But Labour peer Lord Tunnicliffe, a former pilot, urged the Government to immediately ground the Boeing plane.

He said: ‘In my day we had a rule – If it can go wrong it will go wrong. The industry seems to have lost sight of this rule. I believe everybody involved will be shown to be in dereliction of their duty.’

Holidaymakers took to social media to voice their concerns. Lucy Barcoo asked TUI on Twitter: ‘Can you please tell me which type of aircraft my flight home from Ibiza will be on please? Very concerned about the Boeing 737 Max.’

Michael Bibby wrote: ‘TUI need to ground the death plane until Boeing provide a proper fix!’

Authorities in China, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Mongolia, Mexico, Brazil, and the Cayman Islands have acted swiftly and grounded the aircraft.

The US Federal Aviation Administration said that while it still considered the jets to be ‘airworthy’, it wants Boeing to submit ‘design changes’ by next month.

Boeing had been facing questions over the flight control systems that is suspected of causing the two accidents.

All passengers and crew on board the Nairobi-bound plane, including nine Britons, died in the disaster – the second involving a 737 MAX 8 in just five months.

Last October, the same model of plane, operated by Lion Air, crashed in Indonesia, killing 189 and experts have highlighted the ‘similarities’ between the two tragedies.

Indonesia and China have grounded all Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft while U.S. officials said they would take ‘immediate action’ if they found safety flaws in the planes. Ethiopian Airlines and Cayman Airways have also taken the jets out of service.

As Ethiopia marked a day of mourning and the search for remains entered a second day, rescuers said they had recovered the aircraft’s black box which is expected to shed light on the cause of the crash.

Until they have done so, the Boeing 737 Max 8 are ‘not safe to fly’, according to CNN’s aviation expert, Mary Schiavo, a former Inspector General of the U.S. Department of of Transportation.

Ms Schiavo was asked point blank if she thought the planes were safe, to which she responded no, adding that the ‘responsible thing to do’ would be to ground all Boeing 737 Max 8 until the cause of the Ethiopia crash had been established.

Rescue teams look on as a digger searches for bodies at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash this morning

Rescue teams look on as a digger searches for bodies at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash this morning

Rescue teams look on as a digger searches for bodies at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash this morning

Pictures have emerged showing the scale of the crash site from above.  Diggers have been excavating the site in a bid to locate bodies

Pictures have emerged showing the scale of the crash site from above.  Diggers have been excavating the site in a bid to locate bodies

Rescue teams look on as a digger searches for bodies at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash this morning

The 'brand new' Boeing 737 MAX 8 took off from Bole International Airport and reached an altitude of 8,600ft before coming crashing down 37 miles from Addis Ababa

The 'brand new' Boeing 737 MAX 8 took off from Bole International Airport and reached an altitude of 8,600ft before coming crashing down 37 miles from Addis Ababa

The ‘brand new’ Boeing 737 MAX 8 took off from Bole International Airport and reached an altitude of 8,600ft before coming crashing down 37 miles from Addis Ababa

Boeing said yesterday morning there was no need to issue new guidance to operators of its 737 MAX 8 aircraft based on investigations so far.

But shares in Boeing Co slid nearly 10 per cent in early trading on Monday, in one of the firm’s worst days on the stock market since 9/11.

The MAX 8 is the latest version of the best-selling commercial jet in history and is operated by scores of airlines around the world – including in the UK.

Are 737 Max 8 jets safe? Boeing faces troubling questions after second crash in five months

Boeing issued a safety warning last November about its new 737 Max jets which could have a fault that causes them to nose-dive.

The special bulletin sent to operators was about a sensor problem flagged by Indonesian safety officials investigating the crash of a Lion Air 737 that killed 189 people just a week before the memo was sent.

Since the 737 Max was unveiled in 2017, 350 of the jets have been bought, with around a further future 4,761 orders placed. More than 40 airlines around the world use the 737 Max, which has four kinds in the fleet, numbered 7, 8, 9 and 10.

Airlines such as Norwegian Air, Air China, TUI, Air Canada, United Airlines, American Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Icelandair and FlyDubai use the aircraft with hundreds in operation around the world.

The 8 series, which was involved in the crash in Indonesia, has only been in commercial use since 2017.

Boeing said in November that local aviation officials believed pilots may have been given wrong information by the plane’s automated systems before the fatal crash.

An AOA sensor provides data about the angle at which wind is passing over the wings and tells pilots how much lift a plane is getting.

According to a technical log the Lion Air plane, which had only been in service a few months, suffered instrument problems the day before because of an ‘unreliable’ airspeed reading.

The MAX models  are relatively new but has already been investigated after problems reported. Pictured: Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 (stock image)

The MAX models  are relatively new but has already been investigated after problems reported. Pictured: Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 (stock image)

The MAX models  are relatively new but has already been investigated after problems reported. Pictured: Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 (stock image)

Minutes after take-off the plane suddenly nose-dived hitting speeds of 600mph before slamming into the sea.

The warning issued today read: ‘The Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee has indicated that Lion Air flight 610 experienced erroneous input from one of its AOA (Angle of Attack) sensors.

‘Boeing issued an Operations Manual Bulletin (OMB) directing operators to existing flight crew procedures to address circumstances where there is erroneous input from an AOA sensor.’

As a result of an investigation into the crash the jet manufacturer is said to be preparing a bulletin to be sent to operators of the 737 jets warning about faulty cockpit readings that could cause a dive.

The notice refers to the ‘angle of attack’, which is the angle of the wing relative to oncoming air stream, a measure that indicates if a plane is likely to stall.

This angle of attack, which is a calculation of the angle at which the wind is passing over the wings, is used to be determined if a stall is imminent.

Inspectors found faults on two other Boeing 737 MAX jets, including one which mirrored a problem reported on board the Lion Air plane.

One of four varieties of 737 Max aircraft produced by the US aerospace giant, Boeing says it has taken more than 4,700 orders for the single-aisle family of planes which can carry up to 230 passengers.

In May 2017, Boeing had halted 737 MAX test flights due to quality concerns with the engine produced by CFM International, a company jointly owned by France’s Safran Aircraft Engines and GE Aviation.

In late January, 350 of the narrow-body, twin-engine planes were delivered to customers out of 5,011 orders from Boeing.

The latest accident is a major blow for Boeing, whose MAX carriers are the latest version of the Boeing 737, its bestseller of all time with more than 10,000 aircraft produced.

‘MAX is a very important program for Boeing in the next decade. It represents 64 per cent of the company’s production to 2032, and has significant operational margins,’ said Merluzeau. ‘It is an essential tool to global transport and trade.’

He said the next 24 hours are ‘key’ for Boeing to manage the crisis with both travellers and investors worried about the reliability of its plane.

The expert who requested anonymity said Boeing will likely face some backlash in the markets, but the damage will likely be limited for the group, whose only significant competitor is Airbus.

The plane’s future is so important for Boeing that if any technical corrections are needed, it will make them.

Following the October 29 incident in Indonesia, the aerospace community raised questions about the lack of information on the plane’s anti-stall system.

After investigators said the doomed aircraft had problems with its airspeed indicator and angle of attack (AoA) sensors, Boeing issued a special bulletin telling operators what to do when they face the same situation.

Since the 737 Max was unveiled in 2017, 350 of the jets have been bought, with around a further future 4,761 orders placed. More than 40 airlines around the world use the 737 Max, which has four kinds in the fleet, numbered 7, 8, 9 and 10.

Many consider the 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 is between 10 per cent to 12 per cent more efficient than their predecessors

According to Boeing’s website, 16 airlines have taken delivery of the 737 MAX 8.

A spokesman for the UK Civil Aviation Authority said there are currently five MAX 8s registered and operational in Britain with a sixth aircraft due to enter operation later this week.

Tui Airways became the first UK airline to receive a Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft in December last year and plans to have a total of 32 in its fleet.

There are currently 15 of the aircraft across Tui’s six European airlines.

Which countries have grounded Boeing’s new plane and which ones are still flying it?  

Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 medium-haul workhorse jet was grounded in China, Ethiopia and Indonesia on Monday after an Ethiopian Airlines crash killed all 157 people on board.

The Nairobi-bound plane was the same type as the Indonesian Lion Air jet that crashed in October, killing 189 passengers and crew – with some detecting similarities between the two accidents.

Elsewhere however airlines said they would continue flying the aircraft pending an investigation into the crash and possible guidance from Boeing itself.

Most simply continued to operate the 737 MAX 8 without communicating about their decision.

NATIONS GROUNDING THEIR BOEING 737 MAX 8:

China

China on Monday ordered domestic airlines to suspend commercial operation of the Boeing 737 MAX 8, citing the Ethiopian Airlines accident and last year’s crash of the same model in Indonesia.

Noting ‘similarities’ between the two accidents, China’s Civil Aviation Administration said operation of the model would only resume after ‘confirming the relevant measures to effectively ensure flight safety’.

China is a hugely important market for the US aircraft company, accounting for about one-fifth of worldwide deliveries of Boeing 737 MAX models.

Indonesia

Indonesia, where a Boeing plane of the same model crashed in October, said it was grounding its 11 jets of the 737 MAX 8 type.

Inspections of the aircraft would start Tuesday and the planes would remain grounded until they were cleared by safety regulators, Director General of Air Transport Polana Pramesti told reporters.

Ten of Indonesia’s Max 8 jets are operated by Lion Air while the other is flown by national carrier Garuda.

Ethiopia

Ethiopian Airlines said Monday it had grounded its Boeing 737 MAX 8 fleet.

‘Following the tragic accident of ET 302… Ethiopian Airlines has decided to ground all B-737-8 MAX fleet… until further notice,’ the state-owned carrier said.

‘Although we don’t yet know the cause of the accident, we have to decide to ground the particular fleet as an extra safety precaution,’ said the airline, Africa’s largest.

South Africa

Private South African airline Comair announced on Monday it had taken its only Boeing 737 MAX 8 out of its flight schedule, saying it was doing so voluntarily ‘while it consults with Boeing and technical experts’.  

NATIONS WHICH HAVE NOT GROUNDED THE PLANES: 

Russia

Russian airline S7 said it was closely following the ongoing investigation into the crash and was in contact with Boeing, but had received no instructions from the US plane maker to stop flying the 737 MAX 8.

Turkey

The CEO of Turkish Airlines, which flies 11 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, said in a tweet that the carrier is in touch with Boeing and that passenger security was paramount.

The aircraft however would continue to fly as scheduled.

Italy

Air Italy said it was in ‘constant dialogue with the authorities’ and would follow all directives ‘to ensure the maximum level of safety and security’. In the meantime, the planes remained in the air.

Iceland 

Icelandair’s operations chief Jens Thordarson told Frettabladid that it would be ‘premature’ to link the crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia together.

For now, ‘nothing pushes us towards the slightest action’, he said.

This could change depending on the outcome of an ongoing probe but ‘for now, there is no reason to fear these machines’.

Icelandair operates three Boeing 737 MAX 8 and has options to buy more.

Norway

Norwegian Air Shuttle, which operates 18 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, said it would keep them in the air.

Dubai

Airline flydubai said it was ‘monitoring the situation’ and that it was ‘confident in the airworthiness of our fleet’.

Oman

Oman Air said it was in contact with Boeing ‘to understand if there are any implications for other airlines operating the same model’. 

By AFP 

 

British death toll from tragic Ethiopian Airlines plane rises to nine as Foreign Office confirms mother and son were also killed

  • All 149 passengers and eight crew were killed when the Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed within minutes of take-off
  • British victims identified so far are UN animal welfare worker Joanna Toole, 36; polar expert Sarah Auffet; Hull resident Joseph Waithaka, 55; and Somali-British mother and son Sahra Hassan Said and Nasrudin Abdulkadir
  • Flight-tracking data showed the Ethiopian Airlines plane’s speed fluctuating wildly in its last seconds
  • China and Ethiopian Airlines have now grounded all 737 Max 8s – and Boeing faces questions after Sunday’s disaster comes less than five months after the same model of plane crashed in Indonesdia, killing 189 

Joanna Toole (pictured) has been named as one of the British victims of the air disaster in Ethiopia 

Nine Britons were killed in the Ethiopian Airlines flight which crashed yesterday morning – two more than was feared.

The Foreign Office revised up the number of British victims today after discovering that some of them had dual nationality.  

Today it emerged that British-Somali passengers Sarah Hassan Said and Nasrudin Abdulakir were killed when the Boeing 737 Max 8 jet came down within minutes of take-off from Addis Ababa on Sunday. 

Another British victim was named tonight as Sam Pegram, a 25-year-old aid worker who grew up in Lancashire. 

Mr Pegram’s old secondary school, Penwortham Priory Academy, confirmed their old pupil’s death and said he was remembered ‘with great fondness’.  

In addition to UN worker Joanna Toole, polar expert Sarah Auffet and Joseph Waithaka from Hull, the latest news means that six out of nine British victims have now been named. 

At least 12 passengers, including Ms Toole, from Exmouth, Devon, were travelling to Nairobi for a UN environment gathering. 

The father of UN animal welfare worker Ms Toole, 36 described her as a ‘very soft and loving person’ and said: ‘It’s hard to imagine life without her’.   

Sarah Auffret (pictured), a French-British dual national, has been identified as a victim of the Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302

Sarah Auffret (pictured), a French-British dual national, has been identified as a victim of the Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302

Sarah Auffret (pictured), a French-British dual national, has been identified as a victim of the Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302

Irishman Michael Ryan (pictured) who worked for the UN's World Food Programme was another of the 149 passengers killed

Irishman Michael Ryan (pictured) who worked for the UN's World Food Programme was another of the 149 passengers killed

Kenyan-British dual national Joseph Waithaka, pictured, was killed in the crash on his way home from visiting relatives in Hull

Kenyan-British dual national Joseph Waithaka, pictured, was killed in the crash on his way home from visiting relatives in Hull

Irishman Michael Ryan (pictured left), who worked for the UN’s World Food Programme, and Kenyan-British dual national Joseph Waithaka  (right) – who used to live in Hull – were also among the 149 passengers killed 

Nasrudin Abdulkadir died in Sunday's crash

Nasrudin Abdulkadir died in Sunday's crash

Sarah Hassan Said died in Sunday's crash

Sarah Hassan Said died in Sunday's crash

Nasrudin Abdulkadir and his mother Sarah Hassan Said, both Somali-British nationals, died on the doomed plane, the FCO confirmed on Monday evening

Sam Pegram, pictured, was named on Monday as another British victim

Sam Pegram, pictured, was named on Monday as another British victim

Sam Pegram, pictured, went to school in Lancashire

Sam Pegram, pictured, went to school in Lancashire

Sam Pegram, pictured, a 25-year-old aid worker was named on Monday as another British victim of the Ethiopian air disaster

On Twitter Ms Toole had described herself as an ‘ocean protectionist, lover of yoga and vegan foodie’ who was ‘passionate’ about the Earth. 

Nine Britons, one Irishman, 18 Canadians and eight Americans were among 149 passengers and eight crew killed when the plane came down near the town of Bishoftu.  

Flight-tracking data showed the plane’s vertical speed had fluctuated wildly in the last seconds before the crash, though experts say it is too early to say what caused the disaster. 

Ms Toole’s father Adrian told Sky News: ‘It’s dreadful she won’t be able to carry on her work. I don’t think I’ll ever give up expecting her to ring.’

He also revealed his daughter kept homing pigeons and pet rats and would travel to the Faroe Islands in a bid to prevent whaling.

Mr Toole said his daughter had flown around the world but added: ‘Personally I never wanted her to be on a single one of those planes’. 

He said: ‘Joanna’s work was not a job – it was her vocation. She never really wanted to do anything else but work in animal welfare since she was a child.

‘Somehow that work took her into the international sphere and for the last 15 years she has been working for international animal welfare organisations.

‘That involves a lot of travelling around the world – although personally I never wanted her to be on a single one of those planes.

‘I’m an environmental campaigner myself, so partly it was because of the damage to the environment but also because it’s a dangerous occupation to be flying. Up until now she had been lucky. 

Members of the search and rescue mission look for dead bodies of passengers at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines crash

Members of the search and rescue mission look for dead bodies of passengers at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines crash

Members of the search and rescue mission look for dead bodies of passengers at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines crash

Rescue workers collect bodies in bags at the crash site of Ethiopia Airlines near Bishoftu following Sunday's air disaster

Rescue workers collect bodies in bags at the crash site of Ethiopia Airlines near Bishoftu following Sunday's air disaster

Rescue workers collect bodies in bags at the crash site of Ethiopia Airlines near Bishoftu following Sunday’s air disaster

Wreckage lies at the crash site after the Ethiopian Airlines jet came down within minutes of take-off on Sunday morning

Wreckage lies at the crash site after the Ethiopian Airlines jet came down within minutes of take-off on Sunday morning

Wreckage lies at the crash site after the Ethiopian Airlines jet came down within minutes of take-off on Sunday morning

Just two days before her death Joanna Toole sent her last tweet, celebrating international women's day and thanking colleagues

Just two days before her death Joanna Toole sent her last tweet, celebrating international women's day and thanking colleagues

Just two days before her death Joanna Toole sent her last tweet, celebrating international women’s day and thanking colleagues

‘Joanna was a very soft and loving person. Everybody was very proud of her and the work she did. We’re still in a state of shock. 

‘Joanna was genuinely one of those people who you never heard a bad word about. She was one of those people who burned the candle at both ends.  

‘She never had any doubt that she wanted to work in animal welfare and on the international scene, that meant a lot of travel. It’s hard to imagine life without her.’

One of her UN colleagues, Manuel Barange, called her a ‘wonderful human being who loved her work with a passion’, saying he was ‘so profoundly sad and lost for words’ at the news of her death. 

According to her LinkedIn page she had worked for the UN since 2016, living in Rome where she recently set up home with her partner.  

She previously worked at World Animal Protection and Animal Defenders International, after graduating from Anglia Ruskin University in 2004 with a degree in Animal Behaviour and Wildlife Biology. 

In a blog she wrote when she worked for WAP she described herself as a keen diver, adding: ‘I’m committed to the protection of all animals, but the underwater world and the animals within it are my greatest passion.’ 

Polar expert Sarah Auffret, who had French and British dual nationality, was also killed in the crash. Colleagues paid tribute to her as a ‘true friend and beloved colleague’.  

‘Words cannot describe the sorrow and despair we feel,’ her employers at the Norway-based Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators said. 

Raised in Brittany, the environmental agent was leading AECO’s efforts to cut back single-use plastics on Arctic expeditions and coordinating beach clean-ups. 

Another victim, 55-year-old Joseph Waithaka, lived in Hull for more than a decade before returning to his native Kenya in 2015. The BBC reported he had dual Kenyan and British citizenship. 

He had been visiting his wife and children, who still live in Hull, and was on his way back to Kenya via Ethiopia when he boarded the doomed flight aboard the Boeing 737 Max 8 jet.

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Mr Waithaka worked for the probation service during his time in Hull and his family said he had ‘helped so many people’ during his time in England. 

The graphic shows how the plane's vertical speed fluctuated in the minute before it crashed near Addis Ababa airport

The graphic shows how the plane's vertical speed fluctuated in the minute before it crashed near Addis Ababa airport

The graphic shows how the plane’s vertical speed fluctuated in the minute before it crashed near Addis Ababa airport 

His son, Ben Kuria, said: ‘My dad was a private man but he also had a pastoral heart. He really championed people. He really helped people realise their potential. 

‘He would tell stories which would inspire the young people he was helping who were not at a great time in their lives.  

‘As a father he was very protective and he really wanted us to do well. He supported us and ensured we got stuck into our education. He really rooted for his children.’ 

The one Irish victim was named as engineer Michael Ryan, an employee of the UN’s World Food Programme – which said seven of its staff members had died in the crash, including two Italians. 

The Rome-based aid worker and engineer, known as Mick, was from Lahinch in Co Clare in Ireland’s west and was believed to be married with two children.  

UK Prime Minister Theresa May said she was ‘deeply saddened to hear of the devastating loss of life following the plane crash in Ethiopia’. 

‘At this very difficult time my thoughts are with the families and friends of the British citizens on board and all those affected by this tragic incident,’ she said.  

Joanna Toole, one of the British victims of the Ethiopian Airlines flight

Joanna Toole, one of the British victims of the Ethiopian Airlines flight

Ms Toole, pictured, worked for the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation

Ms Toole, pictured, worked for the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation

Joanna Toole, pictured, was the first British victim to be named. Paying tribute her father Adrian said she was a ‘very soft and loving person’ whose work with the United Nations was ‘not a job but a vocation’ 

Members of the search and rescue mission look for dead bodies of passengers at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines disaster

Members of the search and rescue mission look for dead bodies of passengers at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines disaster

Members of the search and rescue mission look for dead bodies of passengers at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines disaster

Irish premier Leo Varadkar said: ‘Michael was doing life-changing work in Africa with the World Food Programme. Deepest sympathies to family, colleagues and friends.’   

Former U.S. President Barack Obama said on Twitter that he and wife Michelle ‘send our deepest sympathies to all who knew the victims of today’s plane crash in Ethiopia’.  

Representatives of the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees and an employee of the World Bank also lost their lives in the disaster.  

Hospitality company Tamarind Group announced 'with immense shock and grief' that its chief executive Jonathan Seex (pictured) was among the fatalities

Hospitality company Tamarind Group announced 'with immense shock and grief' that its chief executive Jonathan Seex (pictured) was among the fatalities

Hospitality company Tamarind Group announced ‘with immense shock and grief’ that its chief executive Jonathan Seex (pictured) was among the fatalities

Flight-tracking data revealed that the plane’s vertical speed – the rate of climb or descent – varied from 2,624 feet per minute to minus 1,216 within minutes of take-off.   

According to flight-tracking website FlightRadar24, the plane, which was new and was delivered to the airline last November, ‘had unstable vertical speed’ shortly after take off.  

Aviation experts described the data as extremely unusual, saying that once a plane has taken off the vertical speed should rise or remain stable.     

Expert Sally Gethin said the plane’s rapidly fluctuating speed may indicate that the aircraft stalled in the moments before it crashed. 

She said: ‘It’s the rate of climb or descent – the most critical phases of flight. Instability at that point e.g. too slow – could destabilise the aircraft, potentially risking stalling and other hazardous consequences. It might indicate the pilots had difficulty controlling the climb/ascent.’

An experienced pilot told MailOnline the activity was highly unusual. 

He said: ‘A positive number indicates the aircraft is going up. After takeoff you would expect all these numbers to be positive as the aircraft climbed away from the ground, or zero if they are flying level. 

‘The small amount of data released so far indicates that after only one minute or so of the flight this aircraft started a descent at a rate of up to 1920 feet per minute down. If the data is correct that is extremely unusual. 

‘The data then shows the aircraft going up and down until the data stops. That is why some people are referring to unstable vertical speed. 

‘You would not expect a descent unless you were immediately returning, and if that was the case you wouldn’t then expect the aircraft to climb again. 

‘After takeoff aircraft either climb or fly level for a period then climb again.’   

The wreckage of the plane - showing the colours of the Ethiopian flag on the plane's livery - lies at the scene of the crash

The wreckage of the plane - showing the colours of the Ethiopian flag on the plane's livery - lies at the scene of the crash

The wreckage of the plane – showing the colours of the Ethiopian flag on the plane’s livery – lies at the scene of the crash 

Families and strangers embrace in Ethiopia and Kenya

Families and strangers embrace in Ethiopia and Kenya

Tearful relatives left the information centre as they tried to find their loved ones

Tearful relatives left the information centre as they tried to find their loved ones

The families of those on the plane have been arriving at special information centres to find out their next steps

Family members of the victims involved in a plane crash react at Addis Ababa international airport Sunday, hours after their loves ones took off

Family members of the victims involved in a plane crash react at Addis Ababa international airport Sunday, hours after their loves ones took off

Family members of the victims involved in a plane crash react at Addis Ababa international airport Sunday, hours after their loves ones took off

Ethiopia Airlines group CEO, Mr Tewolde Gebremariam, who is pictured at the accident scene. Firefighters spent hours trying to get to the scene

Ethiopia Airlines group CEO, Mr Tewolde Gebremariam, who is pictured at the accident scene. Firefighters spent hours trying to get to the scene

Ethiopia Airlines group CEO, Mr Tewolde Gebremariam, who is pictured at the accident scene. Firefighters spent hours trying to get to the scene

Wreckage lies at the crash site of Ethiopia Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 which came down en route to Nairobi

Wreckage lies at the crash site of Ethiopia Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 which came down en route to Nairobi

Wreckage lies at the crash site of Ethiopia Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 which came down en route to Nairobi

As more victims were identified:

  • Hospitality company Tamarind Group announced ‘with immense shock and grief’ that its chief executive Jonathan Seex was among the fatalities. 
  • Anton Hrnko, an MP for the nationalist Slovak National Party, said he was ‘in deep grief’ to announce that his wife Blanka, daughter Michala and son Martin were among the dead. 
  • Three members of Italian aid group Africa Tremila were on board. The group’s president Carlo Spini, his wife Gabriella Viggiani, and treasurer Matteo Ravasio were among the eight Italians killed. 
  • The African Diaspora Youth Forum in Europe said co-chairman Karim Saafi had been a passenger on the flight and had been due to represent them at a meeting with the African Union in Nairobi.
  • Professor Pius Adesamni was named as a victim by Benoit-Antoine Bacon, the president and vice-chancellor of Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.
  • Hussein Swaleh, the former secretary general of the Football Kenya Federation, was named as being among the dead by Sofapaka Football Club. 
  • Abiodun Oluremi Bashua – a retired envoy who served in Iran, Austria and Ivory Coast – was killed, Nigeria’s foreign affairs ministry said.
  • Austrian media reported that three doctors who were aged between 30 and 40 and worked at hospitals in Linz had died.
  • Save the Children said its child protection in emergencies adviser Tamirat Mulu Demessie was among the dead.
  • Three of the Russians on board were tourists Yekaterina Polyakova, Alexander Polyakov and Sergei Vyalikov, the Russian Embassy in Ethiopia said.

It has also emerged that U.S. aviation officials had issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive warning that pilots of Boeing 737-8 and 737-9 planes ‘could have difficulty controlling the airplane’ because of a problem with one of its systems. 

A faulty sensor could cause ‘excessive nose-down attitude, significant altitude loss, and possible impact with terrain’, the Federal Aviation Administration had warned.  

U.S. plane maker Boeing is facing tough questions about the crash – which is the second in five months involving a 737 Max 8. In October, 189 people were killed in the Lion Air tragedy in Indonesia.

In response to yesterday’s crash, China and Ethiopian Airlines have now grounded all planes of the same model. 

Part of the plane lies on the ground near Bishoftu following the crash on Sunday morning in which 157 people were killed

Part of the plane lies on the ground near Bishoftu following the crash on Sunday morning in which 157 people were killed

Part of the plane lies on the ground near Bishoftu following the crash on Sunday morning in which 157 people were killed

Boeing has said it will send a forensic team out to the crash site however it has been a site of activity all day with dozens of locals crossing on foot and big machinery being driven over

Boeing has said it will send a forensic team out to the crash site however it has been a site of activity all day with dozens of locals crossing on foot and big machinery being driven over

Boeing has said it will send a forensic team out to the crash site however it has been a site of activity all day with dozens of locals crossing on foot and big machinery being driven over

Pictures from the wreckage show people's shoes and burned bags scattered across the ground after the crash in Ethiopia

Pictures from the wreckage show people's shoes and burned bags scattered across the ground after the crash in Ethiopia

Pictures from the wreckage show people’s shoes and burned bags scattered across the ground after the crash in Ethiopia 

A relative reacts as he leaves the information centre following the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi

A relative reacts as he leaves the information centre following the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi

A relative reacts as he leaves the information centre following the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi

Debris from the plane is strewn around the area while locals comb the area for any signs of survival from the crash

Debris from the plane is strewn around the area while locals comb the area for any signs of survival from the crash

Debris from the plane is strewn around the area while locals comb the area for any signs of survival from the crash 

After the news all onboard had died families cried and talked on the phone at the airport. Families have said they are being told nothing about what has happened

After the news all onboard had died families cried and talked on the phone at the airport. Families have said they are being told nothing about what has happened

After the news all onboard had died families cried and talked on the phone at the airport. Families have said they are being told nothing about what has happened 

A woman reacts as she waits for the updated flight information of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302, where her fiance was onboard at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi, Kenya

A woman reacts as she waits for the updated flight information of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302, where her fiance was onboard at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi, Kenya

A woman reacts as she waits for the updated flight information of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302, where her fiance was onboard at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi, Kenya

Family members arrive at Bole International airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, after hearing news of the crash

Family members arrive at Bole International airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, after hearing news of the crash

Family members arrive at Bole International airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, after hearing news of the crash

Rescue team walk past collected bodies in bags at the crash site of Ethiopia Airlines near Bishoftu, a town some 60 kilometres southeast of Addis Ababa

Rescue team walk past collected bodies in bags at the crash site of Ethiopia Airlines near Bishoftu, a town some 60 kilometres southeast of Addis Ababa

Rescue team walk past collected bodies in bags at the crash site of Ethiopia Airlines near Bishoftu, a town some 60 kilometres southeast of Addis Ababa

The scene of the crash on rural land in Ethiopia. All passengers on board the plane died on Sunday, the airline confirmed

The scene of the crash on rural land in Ethiopia. All passengers on board the plane died on Sunday, the airline confirmed

The scene of the crash on rural land in Ethiopia. All passengers on board the plane died on Sunday, the airline confirmed 

The plane had been heading towards Nairobi when it came down in Ethiopia. It was just 31 miles from Addis Ababa Airport

The plane had been heading towards Nairobi when it came down in Ethiopia. It was just 31 miles from Addis Ababa Airport

The plane had been heading towards Nairobi when it came down in Ethiopia. It was just 31 miles from Addis Ababa Airport

The plane had reportedly travelled for six minutes when it came down to the ground

The plane had reportedly travelled for six minutes when it came down to the ground

The plane had reportedly travelled for six minutes when it came down to the ground 

List of nationalities on board the Ethiopia Airlines flight

Kenya: 32 passengers

Canada: 18

Ethiopia: 9

China: 8

Italy: 8

United States: 8

France: 7

UK: 7

Egypt: 6

Germany: 5

India: 4

Slovakia: 4

Austria: 3

Russia: 3

Sweden: 3

Spain: 2

Israel: 2

Morocco: 2   

Poland: 2   

Belgium: 1
Djibouti: 1
Ireland: 1
Indonesia: 1

Mozambique: 1

Norway: 1

Rwanda: 1

Saudi Arabia: 1

Sudan: 1

Somalia: 1

Serbia: 1

Togo: 1

Uganda: 1

Yemen: 1

Nepal: 1

Nigeria: 1

U.N. passport: 1     

Djibouti: 1   

Boeing said it was ‘deeply saddened’ by news of the crash and would sent technical experts to Ethiopia to help investigate the crash.     

The plane came down near Bishoftu, Ethiopia, 37 miles (60km) south of the Addis Ababa. A witness told the BBC it took rescuers until 11am to arrive.

Witness Bekele Gutema said: ‘The blast and the fire were so strong that we couldn’t get near it. Everything is burnt down.’ 

The pilot had sent out a distress call and was given the all clear to return, according to the airline’s chief executive Tewolde Gebremariam.

Senior captain Yared Getachew had a ‘commendable performance’ having completed more than 8,000 hours in the air, the airline said.

The plane had flown from Johannesburg to Addis earlier on Sunday morning, and had undergone a ‘rigorous’ testing on February 4, a statement continued. 

The plane, a 737 MAX 8, is believed to be a new addition to the EA fleet having been delivered last year – and is the same model as the Lion Air plane which crashed in Indonesia in October. 

Last night Cayman Airways president Fabian Whorms said both of the airline’s new Max 8s will not fly from Monday. 

Boeing issued a safety warning last November about its new 737 Max jets which could have a fault that causes them to nose-dive. The MAX-8 planes were launched in 2016 and are used by major airlines all around the world. 

The state-owned Ethiopian Airlines calls itself Africa’s largest carrier and has ambitions of becoming the gateway to the continent.  

Ethiopian Airlines said they had contacted the victims’ families and said the bodies would be returned home once they had been identified.    

The loved ones of plane passengers heading to Nairobi were waiting for news at the airport yesterday morning

The loved ones of plane passengers heading to Nairobi were waiting for news at the airport yesterday morning

The loved ones of plane passengers heading to Nairobi were waiting for news at the airport yesterday morning

Ethiopian Airlines hopes to become the most prominent airline on the continent. Pictured: A man looks at his phone outside the Ethiopian Airlines offices in downtown Nairobi, Kenya

Ethiopian Airlines hopes to become the most prominent airline on the continent. Pictured: A man looks at his phone outside the Ethiopian Airlines offices in downtown Nairobi, Kenya

Ethiopian Airlines hopes to become the most prominent airline on the continent. Pictured: A man looks at his phone outside the Ethiopian Airlines offices in downtown Nairobi, Kenya

A Djiboutian national Hiba (L) is comforted by a relative as she waits for details of her loved one that was on board the flight Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi

A Djiboutian national Hiba (L) is comforted by a relative as she waits for details of her loved one that was on board the flight Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi

A Djiboutian national Hiba (L) is comforted by a relative as she waits for details of her loved one that was on board the flight Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi

Passengers wait outside the Bole International airport Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Families returned to the airport to try and get news of the crash

Passengers wait outside the Bole International airport Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Families returned to the airport to try and get news of the crash

Passengers wait outside the Bole International airport Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Families returned to the airport to try and get news of the crash 

A flight information board displaying the details of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 is seen at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport

A flight information board displaying the details of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 is seen at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport

A flight information board displaying the details of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 is seen at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport

An Ethiopian Airports fire engine rushes to the scene of the crash on Sunday morning. It took them until 11am to get there

An Ethiopian Airports fire engine rushes to the scene of the crash on Sunday morning. It took them until 11am to get there

An Ethiopian Airports fire engine rushes to the scene of the crash on Sunday morning. It took them until 11am to get there

Ethiopian Airlines air crash is the second involving brand new Boeing 737 in just three months after 189 were killed in Indonesia tragedy

By Joel Adams for MailOnline

The tragic deaths of 157 passengers and crew yesterday, when an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft crashed within minutes of take-off in Addis Ababa, are raising serious questions over the safety record of both aircraft and airline.

It was on another brand new Boeing 737 Max 8, in Indonesia less than five months ago, that 189 people lost their lives in the Java Sea when Lion Air Flight 610 plummeted out of the skies minutes after taking off from Jakarta.

And the incident brings the African carrier’s death toll to 482 across 22 fatal incidents since its inception in 1965 – and almost 500 more people have been injured in EA crashes and incidents, according to information from the Flight Safety Foundation.

For comparison, only one British Airways flight has only ever been involved in one fatal incident: the Zagreb runway crash of 1976 when all 176 people aboard two planes died when BA Flight 476 collided with another aircraft on takeoff due to an air traffic control error.

An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 went down within six minutes of take-off this morning (pictured: stock image)

An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 went down within six minutes of take-off this morning (pictured: stock image)

An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 went down within six minutes of take-off this morning (pictured: stock image)

Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde GebreMariam inspects the newly-arrived Boeing 737 Max 8 months before the crash

Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde GebreMariam inspects the newly-arrived Boeing 737 Max 8 months before the crash

Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde GebreMariam inspects the newly-arrived Boeing 737 Max 8 months before the crash

Initial reports yesterday showed considerable similarities between the Ethiopian and Indonesian disasters which involve the same plane.

Yesterday’s flight lost contact about six minutes after take-off, having requested and been given clearance to return to the airport in Abbis Ababa.

Last year, Lion Air 610 also went down minutes after take-off having requested permission to return to base.

Yesterday, telemetry shows the plane’s vertical airspeed fluctuated rapidly in the minutes and second before its crash, including in the final moments when it seems to have been locked in a terrifyingly accelerating nosedive,.

Investigations thus far by the Indonesian and American aviation authorities have concluded the Lion Air plane also hit the sea after a violent nosedive.

The New York Times reports that investigators are considering whether that dive might have been caused by updated Boeing software that was meant to prevent a stall – but that can send the plane into a fatal descent if the altitude and angle information being fed into the computer system is incorrect.

The change in the flight control system, which can override manual motions in the Max model, was not explained to pilots, according to some pilots’ unions.

After that crash, Boeing said that it was continuing ‘to evaluate the need for software or other changes as we learn more from the ongoing investigation.’ It was unclear if the company had made any changes.

In a statement on Sunday, Boeing said it was ‘deeply saddened’ to learn of the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.

Indonesian emergency services carry a body bag in the wake of the Lion Air disaster last year

Indonesian emergency services carry a body bag in the wake of the Lion Air disaster last year

Indonesian emergency services carry a body bag in the wake of the Lion Air disaster last year  

‘A Boeing technical team is prepared to provide technical assistance at the request and under the direction of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board,’ the company said.

The state-owned Ethiopian Airlines calls itself Africa’s largest carrier and has ambitions of becoming the gateway to the continent.

The airline does have a better safety rating and a newer fleet than some neighbouring operators – a number of African airlines are banned outright from EU airspace including the flag-carrier of neighbouring Eritrea.

But in addition to 16 fatal incidents costing 102 lives in the 1960s, 70s, and 1980s; the airline has now suffered six fatal incidents in the last thirty years, including other two huge tragedies.

In 1996 after a hijacking and a failed water landing, 125 people died on Flight 961 in Moroni, the capital of the Union of the Comoros in the Indian Ocean.

And in January 2010, 82 passengers and eight crew died when EA flight 409 from Beirut to Addis Ababa slammed into the Mediterranean shortly after take-off. 

Boeing’s 737 is the world’s most-sold passenger jet family and is considered one of the industry’s most reliable. 

The MAX 8 is the latest version of the aircraft, which Boeing rolled out in 2017 as an update to the already redesigned 50-year-old 737.

By the end of January, Boeing had delivered 350 MAX jets out of the total order tally of 5,011 aircraft.  

 

 

 

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