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Airlines including United and American ground several 737 Max jets after Boeing reveals electrical problem

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Airlines including United and American ground several 737 Max jets after Boeing reveals electrical problem

Three US airlines have grounded several of their 737 Max jets after Boeing announced an issue affecting the electrical system of some of its planes.

In a statement on Friday, Boeing said that the electrical problem was caused by a “production issue,” that has affected planes used by 16 different airlines.

The plane manufacturer added: “Boeing has recommended to 16 customers that they address a potential electrical issue in a specific group of 737 Max airplanes prior to further operations.”

Following Boeing’s recommendation, Southwest Airlines said it would ground 30 of its 58 Max planes, while United Airlines confirmed it would stop flying 16 out of 30 of its fleet and American Airlines revealed that it would halt flights on 17 of its 41 jets.

Boeing has not yet revealed the other airlines affected by the announcement, but the company said it would work with its customers to fix the planes.

United confirmed in a statement that it was working with Boeing to set a date for the jets to be flown again, but at this time is unclear on when that could be.

“We have been in touch with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and Boeing and will continue to work closely with them to determine any additional steps that are needed to ensure these aircraft meet our rigorous safety standards and can return to service,” the airline said on Friday.

Southwest stressed that it only “anticipates minimal disruption to our operation,” adding that “we appreciate the understanding of our Customers and Employees as Safety is always the uncompromising priority at Southwest Airlines.”

While American said that the only jets in its fleet affected are ones that the airline received after the Max was brought back to service following planes being grounded three years ago.

“As we shared when we returned the 737 Max to commercial service, the safety of our customers and team members comes above all else,” American added on Friday.

In 2019, the most recent version of the 737 Max, the world’s biggest-selling aircraft, was grounded worldwide after two fatal crashes that cost 346 lives.

In October 2018, 189 people died when Lion Air flight 610 came down in the Java Sea shortly after take off from Jakarta.

The following March, 157 passengers and crew lost their lives aboard Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 after it crashed in very similar circumstances soon after departing from Addis Ababa, causing flights to be grounded not long after.

Boeing, which is working with the FAA, confirmed that the latest issue was unrelated to other problems that have affected their jets in recent years.

In December 2020, American became the first US airline to fly the 737 Max after its grounding in December 2020, with other airlines following suit in the months since.

Despite the most recent grounding, Southwest will continue flying 28 of its Max planes, while United confirmed it would use 14 and American revealed that it would keep flights for 24 of its jets.

Reference: Independent: James Crump  

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