Boeing 737 MAX Grounding – 1 Year On

One year ago today, airlines and aviation authorities around the world began grounding the Boeing 737 MAX. The grounding came following a second fatal accident involving a Boeing 737 MAX in the space of a year.

Boeing 737 MAX, Grounding, One Year
The first Boeing 737 MAX aircraft were grounded one year ago by Ethiopian Airlines. Photo: Getty Images

Over the past year, the Boeing 737 MAX has dominated headlines. More often than not, this was not for the right reasons. A year ago, nobody would’ve envisioned that the MAX grounding would last this long. However, today marks a year since the first 737 MAX was grounded. As things stand, it looks as though this grounding will remain in place for at least a few more months, if not longer.

Why was the MAX grounded?

The Boeing 737 MAX was first grounded a year ago following two fatal crashes of the type. The first crash saw a Lion Air 737 MAX crash into the sea shortly after departure from Jakarta. Flight 610 was lost, along with all 189 onboard the aircraft. This accident occurred on the 29th of October 2018.

The second accident occurred a year ago today. An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX crashed into the ground just outside of Addis Ababa. The flight had been heading to Nairobi when it crashed. The aircraft was totally destroyed with 157 fatalities. 346 lives were lost in MAX crashes in total.

Boeing 737 MAX, Grounding, One Year
Carriers across the globe have been affected by the 737 MAX groundings. Photo: Getty Images

Why was the aircraft grounded?

Fairly shortly after the second Boeing 737 MAX crash, parallels began to be drawn between the two accidents. As a result, airlines and aviation authorities around the globe began grounding the aircraft. Initially, Ethiopian Airlines grounded its MAX aircraft immediately, one year ago today.

The next grounding order came from the Chinese Civil Aviation Administration early on the 11th. On the 12th of March 2019, a number of further groundings were ordered, including across the entirety of Europe by the European Aviation Safety Agency.

Then, on the 13th of March, the aircraft was effectively grounded worldwide following an executive order from US President Donald Trump on behalf of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Boeing 737 MAX
Hundreds of aircraft should have been in service last year. Photo: Getty Images

What’s next for the MAX?

Initially, when the MAX was grounded, it seemed as though the issue would be solved after a couple of months at most. However, this did not prove to be the case, as aircraft have remained on the ground since. Last week Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary told Simple Flying:

“I think there is a reasonable degree of confidence between Boeing and the FAA [that the MAX will be recertified] end of June, early July. That was originally a conservative kind of deadline date, and more likely to be an accurate deadline. The risk is further movement to the right.”

While the 737 MAX reentry to service seems closer than ever before, we likely won’t know an exact date until the aircraft is recertified.

Did you expect the MAX grounding to last a whole year? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.