The Latest: Oman Air questions Boeing over MAX 8 planes

BEIJING (AP) — The Latest on Boeing's 737 MAX 8 model after a crash in Ethiopia (all times local):

7 p.m.

State-run carrier Oman Air says it is in close contact with Boeing after the crash of an Ethiopian jetliner, the same model that it uses widely.

Oman Air tweeted Monday that is talking to Boeing "to understand if there are any implications" for other airlines operating Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft.

It added: "Oman Air's primary and overriding consideration is the safety and well-being of its staff and guests."

Oman Air operates five Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. Oman is a sultanate on the eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula.

The crash of the Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 on Sunday killed 157 people. A similar Lion Air plane crashed in Indonesia in October, killing 189 people.

Chinese and Indonesian regulators ordered their airlines to temporarily ground their Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes.


6:25 p.m.

Indonesia has grounded Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes for inspections following the Ethiopian Airlines crash, the second for the new aircraft since October.

Director General of Air Transportation Polana B. Pramesti said the grounding was taken to ensure flight safety in Indonesia. He said the inspections will ensure the planes are airworthy.

The crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 killed 157 people Sunday. A Lion Air model of the same plane crashed in Indonesia in October, killing 189 people.

There are currently 11 MAX 8 planes operated by airlines in Indonesia including 10 by Lion Air and 1 by national carrier Garuda.


5:30 p.m.

Boeing says it is not issuing new guidance to airlines about its 737 Max 8 aircraft after a second fatal crash on Sunday.

A statement Monday referred questions about the grounding of planes to airlines and aviation authorities. It said "at this point, based on the information available, we do not have any basis to issue new guidance to operators."

China has ordered its airlines to ground their Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft by 6 p.m., and Ethiopian Airlines and Cayman Airways both are doing the same.

A crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max 8 killed 157 people Sunday. A Lion Air model of the same plane crashed in Indonesia in October, killing 189 people.


3:55 p.m.

A spokesman says Ethiopian Airlines has grounded all its Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft as a safety precaution.

Asrat Begashaw said Monday that although it is not yet known what caused the crash on Sunday, the airline decided to ground its remaining four 737 Max 8 planes until further notice as "an extra safety precaution." Ethiopian Airlines was using five new 737 Max 8 planes and was awaiting delivery of 25 more.

Begashaw said searching and digging to uncover body parts and aircraft debris will continue. He said forensic experts from Israel have arrived in Ethiopia to help with the investigation.


3:40 p.m.

The Middle Eastern budget carrier FlyDubai says it is in touch with Boeing and "monitoring the situation" regarding its 737 Max 8 aircraft, but has faith in its planes' airworthiness following an Ethiopian Airlines crash involving the model.

FlyDubai operates 11 Boeing 737 MAX-8 and two Boeing MAX-9 jetliners. The Dubai government-owned airline said in emailed statements Monday that it "went through a rigorous process" to choose the right aircraft for its operations and noted that it adheres to all regulations regarding its planes.

It says it remains "confident in the airworthiness of our fleet."

The Ethiopian crash killed 157 people aboard on Sunday. Chinese regulators ordered all Chinese airlines to temporarily ground their Boeing 737 Max 8 planes on Monday.


11:50 p.m.

Cayman Airways says it is temporarily grounding the two Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft it operates in the wake of an Ethiopian Airlines crash involving the same plane model.

The Caribbean carrier said the grounding would take effect Monday. While he acknowledged the cause of the Ethiopian crash was unclear, airline President and CEO Fabian Whorms said the airline was taking the step because of its "commitment to putting the safety of our passengers and crew first."

He said the move would lead to scheduling changes as the carrier copes with aircraft shortages.

Cayman received its first Max 8 in November and its second just this month.

The airline is the flag carrier of the Cayman Islands, a British Overseas Territory.


11:11 p.m.

The head of Indonesia's national transport safety agency says it will offer to assist the Ethiopian investigation into the crash of a Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane.

The same model of plane, operated by Lion Air, crashed in Indonesia in October, killing all 189 people on board. Like the Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday, which killed 157 people, the Lion Air jet had erratic speed in the few minutes it was in the air.

Soerjanto Tjahjono, chairman of the National Safety Transportation Board, said Monday that Indonesia can be a party to Ethiopia's investigation because one of its citizens was among those who died in the crash.

He said, "However, we will also offer to assist the investigation process."

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