Comair will continue to fly its brand-new Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane following an Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday.
Comair – which operates kulula and British Airways in Southern Africa – has ordered eight of the Boeing 737 Max planes for delivery, and the first of the planes was delivered two weeks ago.
The plane, in British Airways colours, started flying South African routes last week, and was still in the air late last night on a Cape Town flight, according to the flight tracking platform Flightradar24.com.
These were all of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes flying at 22:20 last night:
On Monday morning, China’s Aviation Authority grounded all Boeing 737 Max 8 planes used by domestic airlines after an Ethiopian Airline crash six minutes after takeoff on Sunday.
All 157 people aboard the Boeing 737 Max 8 plane were killed.
This is the second crash involving a Boeing 737 Max 8 plane in recent months – in October, Lion Air flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea 12 minutes after takeoff, killing 187 people.
According to a statement posted to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC)’s website, the Ethiopian Airlines crash and the Lion Air crash have certain similarities that have caused concern over the Boeing aircraft.
The statement added that both incidents involved newly delivered Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft and both occurred in the takeoff phase of the flight. Ethiopia also banned the airplanes from flying.
But Comair will continue to fly its 737 MAX plane.
“Our highly trained and experienced flight crew and engineers remain vigilant,” Comair said. “If we receive information that requires us to reassess the situation, please be assured we will take appropriate action in the interests of the safety of our staff and customers.”
Other airlines, including SilkAir, the regional wing of Singapore Airlines, also said it will continue to fly the new planes.
With 4,700 orders for the planes, the 737 MAX series is the fastest-selling aircraft in Boeing’s history, according to CNN.
Comair ordered eight planes five years ago, with the company’s CEO Erik Venter telling Boeing in 2016 that the company owed much of its success to the 737.
“We try to get about 11 and one-half hours out of the airplanes each day,” said Venter. “The 737 is up to the job and we find that it’s tougher than your competitors.”
Comair celebrated its 70th anniversary with a 90 kg cake shaped like a Next-Generation 737-800.