A number of countries have grounded their Boeing 737 Max 8 planes following Sunday’s deadly crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight.
We wanted to know if the planes are used on Hawaii flights.
We found out Air Canada uses the Max 8 on its flights from Honolulu to Vancouver, Canada.
We also reached out to six other airlines that service Hawaii.
American Airlines has 24 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft in its fleet and is still flying them. We’re told none of the Max 8s fly to and from Hawaii.
“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.”
Alaska Airlines tells us they do not have any of the Max aircraft. Their first Max 9 is planned for delivery in June.
“Our hearts are with all those impacted by the Ethiopian Airlines tragedy. At this time we do not have any MAX aircraft in our fleet.”
Delta Airlines doesn’t operate Boeing 737 Max 8s. Hawaiian says it doesn’t have any Boeing 737s in its fleet. United doesn’t have the Max 8 aircraft but does fly Max 9.
“United Airlines has no MAX-8 or MAX-10 aircraft in our fleet. We do have 14 of the MAX-9. We have made clear that the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft is safe and that our pilots are properly trained to fly the MAX aircraft safely.”
Southwest Airlines won’t start service to and from Hawaii until March 17th. A spokesperson tells us:
“We will serve Hawaii with the 737-800, not the MAX, as we only received the FAA’s ETOPS authorization for the 737-800.
As Southwest operates a fleet of 34 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, we have been in contact with Boeing and will continue to stay close to the investigation as it progresses. After completing more than 40,000 MAX 8 flights, we remain confident in the safety and airworthiness of our entire fleet of more than 750 Boeing 737 aircraft, and we don’t have any changes planned to 737 MAX operations.
We are fielding some questions from Customers asking if their flight will be operated by the Boeing 737 MAX 8. Our Customer Relations Team is responding to these Customers individually, emphasizing our friendly, no-change fee policy. As mentioned, we remain confident in the safety and airworthiness of our fleet of more than 750 Boeing aircraft.”
Aviation expert Peter Forman tells us Boeing installed a new feature on the Max 8 aircraft that prevents the airplane from pitching up in certain circumstances.
“This is necessary because the 737 Max 8 has much bigger engines. It has less stable flight characteristic because of the location, size of the engine. So in order to be certified, it needed an automatic system to push forward in case the plane was in position where the nose would rise too much and get to close to wing stall,” said Forman.
It’s a quick fix if the crew knows how to deal with it. After the recent crashes, Forman tells us Boeing may need to make some changes.
“We are actually going to see two fixes, we are actually going to see some type of fix, either hardware or software, so it’s not going to occur as often. And the other thing is, of course, crew training is going to be necessary,” said Forman, “I would say U.S. crew members are well equipped to deal with these problems. When you get into other countries they are not necessarily as well equipped to these problems.”