MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) is not considering banning the use of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 to and from the country, spokesperson Eric Apolonio said Tuesday.
“We cannot ground the use of a type of aircraft, unless requested by the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization),” Apolonio told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
Many people have raised concerns over the safety of the B737 MAX 8, following the Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed everyone on board last Sunday.
The flight flew from Addis Ababa to Nairobi but reportedly crashed six minutes after take-off.
The same type of aircraft also crashed in October 2018, killing 189 people on board a Lion Air flight. According to reports, the crash also happened minutes after take-off.
The B737 MAX 8 is among the variants of the Boeing 737 MAX, an American narrow-body aircraft series. The first delivery of MAX 8 was in 2017 to Malinda Air.
“It’s a (relatively new) type of aircraft, and we still don’t have it among our local carriers,” Apolonio said, adding that an airline would likely wait for about two years to get the aircraft it orders.
He said one local carrier is waiting for the B737 MAX 8 it has ordered. He, however, declined to name the airline and to say how many units of B737 MAX 8 were ordered.
Executives of the Philippine Airlines (PAL), Cebu Pacific (CEB), and AirAsia Philippines told PNA they don’t have the B737 MAX 8, and that most of the aircraft of budget carriers are Airbus planes to provide low-cost travel.
PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna also remarked that the carrier does not have a B737 MAX 8 on its fleet.
“What we have on our fleet is the B777, which we deploy on our trans-Pacific routes to the US,” she said.
Meanwhile, Singapore on Tuesday announced the temporary suspension of all variants of B737 MAX aircraft to and from the country. The announcement applies to both local and international carriers.
China and Indonesia have also grounded the use of the B737 MAX 8 since Monday. (PNA)