Three Latin American airlines have grounded their Boeing 737 Max fleets, adding to a growing number of global airlines suspending operations of the type after a fatal crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max 8.
Aerolineas Argentinas, Aeromexico and Gol say they have temporarily grounded the aircraft. Aerolineas operates five 737 Max 8s, Aeromexico six and Gol seven.
Aerolineas says it made the decision after a joint analysis with Argentina’s civil aviation authority ANAC.
Brazil’s Gol states that it is suspending flights with the type effective 20:00 local time on 11 March “since safety is the number one priority of Gol”. The airline’s 737 Max fleet has operated 2,933 flights since operations began in June 2018, totalling more than 12,700h.
Aeromexico, which says it has “full confidence” in the safety of the 737 Max fleet, decided to temporarily suspend operations until it receives more information from the investigation into the Ethiopian crash on 10 March.
The three Latin American airlines’ move to ground their 737 Max aircraft leave Panama’s Copa Airlines as the only operator of the type in Latin America and the Caribbean to continue flights with the aircraft. Cayman Airways suspend service with the type on 10 March.
The US Federal Aviation Administration said earlier today that it has not received enough data to warrant further action on the 737 Max, while noting external reports “drawing similarities” between the Ethiopian crash and the October 2018 crash of a Lion Air 737 Max 8. Investigations into the Lion Air crash have yet to conclude.
US carriers, which constitute the largest in-service 737 Max fleet after Chinese airlines, are continuing to operate their 737 Max aircraft. China ordered the grounding of the type on 11 March.