CAAS suspends Boeing 737 MAX aircraft flying in and out of SG, SilkAir affected

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) is temporarily suspending operation of all variants of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft into and out of Singapore. This is in light of two fatal accidents involving Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in less than five months.

This comes after Boeing shares fell more than 5% yesterday, according to CNBC, and after a new Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane crashed shortly after takeoff and killed all 157 passengers. The other fatal crash involving the same aircraft model was one operated by Indonesia’s Lion Air that killed 189 people after taking off from Jakarta in October 2018. According to media outlets, aviation authorities in China and Indonesia have issued similar orders to suspend operations of the aircraft prior to CAAS.

The suspension in Singapore will take effect from 1400hrs today. SilkAir, which operates six Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, will be affected by the temporary suspension. A travel advisory on SilkAir's Facebook page said that its other 17 Boeing 737-800NGs remain unaffected.

However, the withdrawal from service of the 737 MAX 8 fleet will have an impact on some of the airline's flight schedules. It added, "Customers who may be affected by flight disruptions will be contacted for reaccommodation. SilkAir is in close communication with the CAAS and Changi Airport Group (CAG) to manage the effects of flight disruptions. We will provide updates on affected flights when finalised."

Besides SilkAir, the other airlines currently operating Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to Singapore are China Southern Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Shandong Airlines and Thai Lion Air. In a press release, CAAS said that it is working with CAG and the affected airlines to minimise any impact to travelling passengers.

CAAS added that it has been in regular contact with SilkAir on its MAX operations since last year, and has been "satisfied that it has been taking appropriate measures to comply with the necessary safety requirements."

During the temporary suspension, CAAS will gather more information and review the safety risk associated with the continued operation of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft into and out of Singapore. CAAS is also closely monitoring the situation and is in close communication with the US Federal Aviation Administration and other aviation
regulators, as well as Boeing. The suspension will be reviewed once "relevant safety information becomes available".

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