Boeing MAX 8 aircraft remain in flight – but not everywhere

Three U.S. airlines use the model involved in two recent fatal crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia.

Countries are suspending use of the Boeing 737 MAX planes – but not the United States.

In the days after a deadly Ethiopian Airlines flight on Sunday, which followed a fatal crash in Indonesia involving the same model – the MAX 8 – countries including Britain and Germany have closed their airspaces to the aircraft. 

Both incidents are under investigation; 157 people died in the Sunday crash, 189 in the Lion Air Indonesian flight in October. 

There is no evidence yet whether the two crashes are linked.

The Federal Aviation Administration deemed the plane airworthy, but that hasn’t silenced stateside opposition. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Mitt Romney have joined the growing chorus.

But as Romney calls for a ban "out of an abundance of caution" on Twitter, you, consumer, can avoid whatever plane models you choose with a little research. 

Which U.S. airlines use the Boeing 737 Max 8?

American, United and Southwest Airlines employ the Boeing model. American and Southwest have released statements underscoring their safety.

"To date, we have operated more than 41,000 flights and have corresponding aircraft data that indicates the effectiveness of our operating standards, procedures and training," Southwest, which is based in Dallas, Texas, said in a Tuesday statement.

What about carriers worldwide?

Boeing lists its 737 Max customers on its website, but keep in mind they employ the Max 7, 8, 9 and 10 models, not just the 8.

Boeing says it plans to update the model’s software in coming weeks.

Which countries have banned the aircraft?

The list is growing, but includes Malaysia, Singapore, India, China, Oman, Australia and all countries within the European Union.

How do I find out which plane a given flight is using?

When you’re booking a flight, the aircraft information should be displayed – say, next to the flight number. If booking via phone, just ask.

Are American lawmakers cool with the FAA not blocking the MAX 8?

Plenty of elected official are making noise for the FAA to reconsider temporarily grounding the planes. And it crosses party lines.

Senator Elizabeth Warren has called for the FAA to reconsider its ruling, while Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican who chairs a subcommittee on aviation and space, said it would be prudent "to temporarily ground 737 Max aircraft" until the FAA "confirms the safety of these aircraft and their passengers." Cruz added he intends "to hold a hearing to investigate these crashes, determine their contributing factors, and ensure that the United States aviation industry remains the safest in the world."

With Reuters

Polly Higgins