France closes airspace to Boeing 737 MAX planes


France's civil aviation authority, the DGAC, has announced a ban on Boeing 737 MAX  airliners from flying 'into, out of, or over French territory', a move mirrored by several other European countries, in what it called 'a precaution' following the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane of the same model on Sunday in which all 157 passengers and crew were killed.

This article is freely available. Check out our subscription offers. Subscribe

France closed its airspace to all Boeing 737 MAX planes on Tuesday, joining a list of countries – including Germany, Britain and Ireland – to ban the aircraft following a deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash, reports FRANCE 24.

"Given the circumstances of the accident in Ethiopia, the French authorities have taken the decision, as a precautionary measure, to ban all commercial flights of Boeing 737 MAXs into, out of, or over French territory," the French civil aviation authority, DGAC, said in a statement.

The decision came days after an Ethiopian Airlines plane of the same model crashed on Sunday after taking off from Addis Ababa. The crash killed all 157 people on board.

Britain, Germany and Ireland also joined a growing number of countries to ground or close airspace to the new Boeing plane.

Announcing the ban, German transport minister Andreas Scheuer told NTV television that, "Safety comes first. Until all doubts have been cleared up, I have ordered that German airspace be closed to all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft with immediate effect."

A number of airlines have also grounded the 737 MAX in the wake of two fatal crashes in five months.

Meanwhile in the US, senators Mitt Romney and Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday called on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to follow several other countries and temporarily ground Boeing Co's 737 MAX.

"Out of an abundance of caution for the flying public, the FAA should ground the 737 MAX 8 until we investigate the causes of recent crashes and ensure the plane's airworthiness," Romney said in a tweet.

Warren, a Democratic presidential candidate, said the FAA should "immediately ground this plane in the United States until its safety can be assured."

She also called on Congress to review the decision. "The Boeing 737 MAX 8 is a major driver of Boeing profits. In the coming weeks and months, Congress should hold hearings on whether an administration that famously refused to stand up to Saudi Arabia to protect Boeing arms sales has once again put lives at risk for the same reason," Warren said in a statement released by her campaign, not her Senate office.

The FAA declined to comment on the senators' statements.

Read more of this report from FRANCE 24.


Extend your reading on Mediapart Unlimited access to the Journal free contribution in the Club Subscribe