Our planes are safe, says Fiji Airways

Fiji Airways Boeing 737 MAX 8. Picture: FIJI AIRWAYS

FIJI Airways says its brand new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft are maintained and operated to the highest safety standards.

The national carrier issued the response in the wake of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 crash on Sunday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which killed all 149 passengers and eight crew.

The aircraft crashed six minutes after take-off during a flight from Ethiopia to Nairobi.

The BBC reported that while the cause of the disaster was yet to be determined, the pilot had reported difficulties and had asked to return to Addis Ababa.

The incident drew international attention because it was the second such crash for an aircraft type which first took flight less than two years ago.

A Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX crashed into the Java Sea, Indonesia, 12 minutes after take-off in October last year.

According to BBC, investigators said the pilots had appeared to struggle with an automated system designed to keep the plane from stalling — a new feature of the Boeing 737 Max 8.

Fiji Airways said it was incredibly saddened to hear of the tragic accident involving Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 and was following the situation closely.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to everyone affected and our thoughts are with them at this very difficult time,” an airline spokesperson said.

“Fiji Airways followed a comprehensive induction process for our new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft and we have full confidence in the airworthiness of our fleet.

“All our aircraft continuously undergo rigorous checks, and are maintained and operated to the highest safety standards.

“We continue to ensure that our maintenance and training program for pilots and engineers meet these same high standards. The safety of our passengers and crew is, and always will be, our number one priority.”

Fiji Airways operates two Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft with a further three on order.

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