Airline: Grounding could impact flight schedules

One of the Fiji Airways Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft at Nadi International Airport. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

FIJI Airways will use its Boeing 737NG and Airbus A330 fleet to replace flights previously operated by Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. A spokesperson from the national carrier said the temporary grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 could impact on flight schedules, however, customers would be advised of any changes.

The airline grounded its two Boeing 737 MAX 8s in the wake of an Ethiopian Airlines’ crash last Sunday which claimed the lives of 149 passengers and eight crew.

The incident sparked worldwide response with countries restricting Boeing 737 MAXs from their airspace and the grounding of the state-of-the-art aircraft across the globe.

“Fiji Airways is hopeful of a smooth transition with minimal disruption to passengers,” the spokesperson said.

“We will have the capacity to manage the change of aircraft type.

“This process has gone into immediate effect.

“We intend to operate schedules as planned, however, any changes will be communicated to passengers.”

The Ethiopian Airlines crash was the second in five months. A Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed into the Java Sea in October last year killing all 189 passengers and crew.

Meanwhile, the United States’ Federal Aviation Administration grounded all Boeing 737 Max jets on Wednesday, citing new evidence that showed similarities between the two fatal crashes.

Boeing also issued a statement on Wednesday recommending the temporary suspension of operations of the entire global fleet of 371 737 MAX aircraft.

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