LONDON ― The Civil Aviation Authority has suspended flights of the Boeing 737 MAX in UK airspace following the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight on Sunday.
The CAA said that it had “closely monitored” the situation in the east African country and had decided to issue instructions to stop airlines using the American-made jet for flights to, from or over Britain.
At least nine Britons were among the 157 people who died when Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 crashed minutes after departing the capital Addis Ababa en route to Nairobi, Kenya.
Last year another of the aircraft, flown by Lion Air, crashed shortly after take-off in Indonesia, killing 189 people.
One British airline, holiday firm TUI, has five 737 MAX planes based in the UK. A sixth was due to be delivered this week. It has confirmed that all its MAX aircraft are grounded following the CAA’s decision.
But one of its MAX planes was still en route to the UK when the CAA’s announcement was made.
Related: How to survive a plane crash, according to science
How to survive a plane crash, according to science
How to survive a plane crash, according to science
The safest thing to do with your carry-on … Is leave it on the plane. Flight crews ask you to keep your luggage clear of the aisles for a reason; in the event of an evacuation, you don’t want it blocking an escape route. With as little as 90 seconds to evacuate a burning place, the precious time spent reaching for luggage could be a life and death decision for someone. Learn about the 22 things flight attendants won’t tell you.
The safest place to sit on the plane … is behind the wings. A Popular Mechanicsstudy of 20 commercial jet crashes with both fatalities and survivors found that passengers seated in the rear cabin (behind the wings) had a 69 percent chance of survival, compared with just 49 percent for those in first class. But you don’t have to sacrifice leg room for safety’s sake: exit rows are perhaps the safest place to sit on the whole plane. In the event of an evacuation, the closer you are to an exit, the higher the chance you’ll escape unscathed. Here’s how to pick the best seat on a plane for every need.
How to sit
The safest way to sit during a crash … Is to brace yourself (literally). In a 2015 crash simulation, Boeing found that passengers who both wore their seat belts and assumed a brace position (feet flat, head cradled against their knees or the seat in front of them if possible) were likeliest to survive a crash. Seat-belted fliers who did not brace suffered serious head injuries, and those with no seat belts or bracing died on impact. Just don’t fall for these 20 air travel myths you need to stop believing.
The safest way to dress … is un-flammably. The National Transportation Safety Board tells us that 68 percent of plane crash fatalities occur in post-crash fires, not in the initial impact. Fortunately, here’s a scenario you can plan for days in advance while you pack your suitcase: On the day you’re flying, avoid wearing flammable synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon. Instead, opt for natural materials like cotton or wool (good news if you’re a sweatpants-at-the-airport kind of person). It’s also a good idea to favor long pants (like jeans) and a long-sleeved shirt for extra protection from flames and sharp objects. Don’t miss these other 16 mistakes you need to stop making before your next flight.
What to wear on your feet
The best shoes to wear … never leave your feet. Hassle-free flip-flops might seem like a good idea for braving airport security, but in the chaos of a crash or evacuation, they’ll only slow you down. Likewise, high heels can lead to stumbling, and may even be sharp enough to pop the inflatable exit slide. Wear a pair of comfy flats or sneakers, and keep them on your feet through the whole flight. Not only can loose shoes get in other passengers’ way and hinder your own mobility during an evacuation, but also remember that nobody wants to smell your stinky feet. And statistically, that is a far greater threat to air travel than any crash. Learn 18 more things you should never do on an airplane.
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“Any customers due to fly home today on a 737 MAX 8 from their holiday will be flown back on another aircraft,” the company said in a statement.
“Customers due to travel in the coming days will also travel on holiday as planned on other aircraft. The safety and wellbeing of our customers and staff has remained our primary concern.”
The CAA said the decision had been taken as it did not have sufficient information from the flight data recorder, and so had taken the “precautionary measure”.
“The UK Civil Aviation Authority’s safety directive will be in place until further notice,” it added.
“We remain in close contact with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and industry regulators globally.”
The Boeing 737 MAX was billed as a more economical version of the manufacturer’s long-standing 737 short-haul aircraft series and performed its first flight in January 2016.