US still using Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft despite Ethiopia crash

Posted: Updated:

The Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people Sunday is raising concerns over Boeing's 737 Max 8, the aircraft involved in the disaster.

Countries around the world are grounding entire fleets of the Boeing 737 Max 8. And countries like Britain, Germany, France and China are barring the planes from flying in their airspace.

MORE: Ethiopian Airlines crash kills 157, spreads global grief

So far, the United States has not taken any action despite calls to temporarily suspend flights from some congressional leaders, consumer groups, the flight attendants union and passengers.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there are 350 Boeing 737 Max 8s in use worldwide, and 74 are registered to fly in the United States.

American and Southwest airlines have about 58 between them. Both companies issued statements saying they have no plans to pull their aircraft out of service at this time.

Southwest Airlines, which does fly out of MacArthur Airport, said:

As the investigation of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 progresses, we are staying in close contact with Boeing, the FAA, and other airlines to learn the cause of the accident. We operate 34 MAX 8 aircraft in our fleet of more than 750 Boeing 737s. We remain confident in the safety and airworthiness of the MAX 8. We don't have any changes planned to our MAX 8 operations. The 34 MAX 8 aircraft fly throughout our entire network on a daily basis.  Since our fleet types are interchangeable, the MAX can serve any of our locations, and it is not based in any particular city or region.

And American Airlines said:

We continue to operate our fleet of 24 MAX 8 aircraft. American Airlines extends our condolences to the families and friends of those on board Ethiopian Airlines flight 302. At this time there are no facts on the cause of the accident other than news reports. Our Flight, Flight Service, Tech Ops and Safety teams, along with the Allied Pilots Association (APA) and Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), will closely monitor the investigation in Ethiopia, which is our standard protocol for any aircraft accident. American continues to collaborate with the FAA and other regulatory authorities, as the safety of our team members and customers is our number one priority. We have full confidence in the aircraft and our crew members, who are the best and most experienced in the industry.

Dr. Mike Canders, director of the Aviation Center at Farmingdale State College, says that while the crash resulted in a significant loss of life, more time is needed to determine whether the U.S. should take action against the Boeing plane.

The MacArthur Airport commissioner tells News 12 that less than 5 percent of the Southwest fleet from Islip comprises Max 8s and that they have not received any calls from concerned residents.

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