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Civil aviation bans Boeing 737 Max from CI airspace

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THE CHANNEL ISLANDS has joined dozens of jurisdictions in banning an aircraft from using its airspace after two fatal accidents in less than five months.

Debris from a Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 jet sits in a field near Bishoftu, where the plane crashed after taking off from Addis Ababa.

A total of 157 people, including nine Britons, died when an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed shortly after take-off on Sunday.

It was the second fatal accident involving the model in less than five months.

Channel Islands director of civil aviation, Dominic Lazarus, said the decision to ban the aircraft was made after consultation with other jurisdictions.

‘I have made a pragmatic decision to prohibit this specific aircraft type from our airspace until we understand whether there is any correlation between this accident and the accident late last year,’ he said.

‘This aircraft has some new design features which may have been at fault but we must wait and see if this is the cause of this week’s accident.’

Less than six months ago, a Boeing 737 Max 8 operated by Lion Air crashed in Indonesia, killing everyone on board.

Investigators said the pilots had appeared to struggle with an automated system designed to keep the plane from stalling, which is a new feature of the jet.

It is not yet clear whether the same system was the cause of Sunday’s crash.

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‘I am responsible for the safety of our airspace and I must be prudent and wait and see the preliminary analysis of the investigation before I make any further announcements,’ said Mr Lazarus.

The Boeing 737 Max was being used for the direct service between Jersey and Tenerife, but an alternative aircraft has been found for the route.

In a statement, CI Travel Group, which runs the Tenerife service, said: ‘Following the tragic events in Ethiopia over the weekend, we are aware that the Boeing 737 Max aircraft type currently operated by Smartwings for the FlyDirect Tenerife programme has been stopped from operating within UK airspace by the CAA.

‘We are in contact with Smartwings regarding the operation of the programme and they have confirmed that flights from next Monday onwards will be operated as planned, with an alternative aircraft type.

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‘The safety and wellbeing of our customers remains our primary concern.’

Mr Lazarus said Smartwings have 10 of these new aircraft type as well as 18 other 737s.

He added that Smartwings would be using its other 737 aircraft until further notice which are not the 737 Max model.

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