[Trinidad Express] – The airplane that crashed in Ethiopia on Sunday, killing all 157 aboard, was the second such plane model involved in a catastrophic crash in the past six months.
Last October, a Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed in the waters off Indonesia, killing all 189 aboard.
And it is this very model airplane that Caribbean Airlines (CAL) has purchased to update its fleet.
Twelve airplanes have been purchased and they will begin arriving later this year, over a three-year period.
In response to the Ethiopia crash, CAL issued a statement on Monday.
Caribbean Airlines extends heartfelt sympathy to the families and loved ones of the passengers and employees impacted by Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302.
We understand that investigations by the relevant authorities are in progress and the cause of this accident remains undetermined at this time.
The airline industry is one of the most highly regulated industries in the world and there are rigorous processes and regulatory procedures to follow before any aircraft is brought into service. Caribbean Airlines will incorporate the procedural and training elements necessary to comply with all regulations and instructions before any new aircraft is introduced to its fleet.
Caribbean Airlines currently uses Boeing 737-800 Next Generation aircraft and stands by its commitment to put the safety of its passengers, crew and operations first.
Meanwhile, airlines in multiple countries have begun grounding the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft over safety concerns.
Among the airlines suspending use of the airplanes was Cayman Airways, which issued a statement on Monday saying it was working in coordination with both the Boeing Corporation and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands to monitor the investigation into Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.
“We offer our valued customers our continued assurance that all prudent and necessary actions required for the safe operation of our Max 8’s will be accomplished before the aircraft are returned to service” stated Cayman Airways.
Last November, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley attended a function where CAL announced the airline has chosen to enhance and renew its single-aisle fleet with the 737 MAX 8.
The carrier, which has long operated the Next-Generation 737, will take delivery of 12 MAX airplanes in the coming years.
The 737 MAX 8 – part of a fuel-efficient family of airplanes – will seat up to 160 passengers in Caribbean Airlines’ three-class configuration featuring the “Caribbean Plus” Cabin, and provide more than 500 nautical miles more range than the existing aircraft.
The airplane incorporates the latest technology CFM International LEAP-1B engines, Advanced Technology winglets, and other airframe enhancements to improve performance and reduce operating costs. Caribbean Airlines projects the MAX 8 will provide up to 16 percent fuel savings compared to its current fleet.
The MAX, outfitted with the popular Boeing Sky Interior and designed to be quieter than previous jets, will also offer Caribbean’s customers the latest in passenger comforts.
The 737 Max is the fastest-selling airplane in Boeing history, accumulating 5,000 orders from more than 100 customers across the world.