Planes banned from airspaces
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – FOLLOWING the deadly crash involving the Boeing 737 Max 8 used by Ethiopian Airline, Caribbean Airlines (CAL) has put its purchases of a fleet of the planes on hold.
The plane, which was carrying 157 persons - 149 passengers and eight crew members – crashed shortly after takeoff.
The announcement by CAL came on the heels of several countries and the European Union, banning the planes from operating in their respective airspace.
The airline, in a media statement, said it would not acquire the planes if a report found that they do not meet the necessary safety requirements.
The airline said it (i) “has an impeccable safety record, due in no small part to the use of very reliable equipment, an extremely well-trained team, and a first-class Maintenance and Engineering Department;
(ii) The airline does not fly the Boeing 737 MAX-8 aircraft;
(iii) The airline will not, and in fact cannot, introduce any aircraft into its fleet that does not meet the most stringent international and domestic regulations;
(iv) If the Boeing 737 MAX-8 aircraft fails to meet any of the very stringent requirements, it will not, and in fact cannot, be added to the fleet; and
(v) Caribbean Airlines’ international aviation consultants, attorneys, and management are closely monitoring the situation, and will take all required steps to continue to safeguard the airline, its customers and staff."
Trinidad and Tobago’s Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Colm Imbert revealed that his government advised airline officials to seek legal advice on its contract for the Boeing 737 Max 8.
While addressing reporters at a Post-Cabinet Press Briefing, he confirmed that the airline is currently using the older 737 800 model.
“At this time, Caribbean Airlines has a fleet of 12 Boeing 737 800 aircraft. Coincidentally, that is the same aircraft that America Airlines has replaced the Max 8 aircraft with. The aircraft coming into Trinidad and Tobago today used by American Airlines is the Boeing 737 800…While it has placed an order for Max 8 aircraft, of course being a state enterprise and we, as a responsible government, are looking at our option with respect to that order of aircraft.”
CAL is not alone on this issue; officials at Cayman Airways have also grounded the planes from operating.
According to reports out of George Town, the airline said it is grounding the jets until further notice.
The airline’s President and CEO, Fabian Whorm was quoted saying that while the cause of the loss is undetermined at this time, they stand by their commitment to putting the safety of their passengers and crew first by maintaining complete and undoubtable safe operations.
Over 50 countries have banned the planes, including India, China, Canada and the United States.