By Melanius Alphonse
Caribbean News Now Associate Managing Editor
GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands — The civil aviation authorities in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands have banned all Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 aircraft from local airspace.
Cayman Airways also grounded its own two new Max 8s after an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Ababa bound for Nairobi crashed minutes after takeoff earlier that day, killing all 157 people on board.
“Given the similarity of the two accidents, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands has decided as a precautionary measure in the public interest that operations by Boeing 737-8 MAX and Boeing 737-9 MAX aircraft in the airspace of the Cayman Islands should not take place until appropriate safeguards are in place,” the CAACI stated in the safety directive.
“The CAACI, in exercise of the governor’s powers under article 68 of the Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) Order 2013, directs pilots and operators of any Boeing 737-8 MAX and Boeing 737-9 MAX not to conduct any flights after 5 pm March 12, 2019, in the airspace of the Cayman Islands,” states the order.
This means that any airline flying to Cayman using a 737 Max 8 or Max 9 must either cancel the flights or using an alternative type of aircraft.
Tourism commissioner nominee Joseph Boschulte confirmed that flights to and from Cayman on other carriers and from other cities are not affected.
The Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA) has also grounded all versions of the 737 Max series listed on the Bermuda Aircraft Registry.
“Following the tragic accident of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 involving a Boeing 737 Max aircraft, the BCAA is taking every step necessary to ensure the safety of passengers. The accident investigation is currently ongoing, and it is too early to draw any conclusions as to the cause of the accident,” a spokeswoman for the BCAA said.
“As a precautionary measure, BCAA has provisionally suspended the Certificate of Airworthiness of all Boeing 737 Max aircraft on the Bermuda Aircraft Registry. In addition, BCAA have temporarily suspended the operation of all variants of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft into and out of Bermuda airspace.
“This decision has been taken based on ensuring the continued safety of passengers and flight crew, which is the BCAA’s number one priority. During the temporary suspension, the BCAA will continue to work closely with the US Federal Aviation Authority and Boeing, the aircraft manufacturer,” she added.
Cayman News Service contributed to this report