With the tragic crash of a Boeing 737 MAX 8 jetliner in Ethiopia on Sunday that killed 157 people, there is a major debate about the safety of jets of this kind. It’s the second crash of a MAX 8 in five months.
Some aviation experts say it’s currently safe to fly on the aircraft, while others disagree.
Mary Schiavo is a CNN aviation analyst. She’s a former Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the author of the 1997 nonfiction bestseller “Flying Blind, Flying Safe.”
Interviewed on Australian television, Schiavo says she would not fly the 737 MAX until it is clear what has caused the two recent crashes.
By contrast, CNN’s Chris Cuomo interviewed Jeff Guzzetti, a former Federal Aviation Administration director of accident investigation, who said he would currently fly on the 737 MAX 8 because there is no definitive evidence yet as to why the two planes went down.
You can watch both interviews below (to hear the sound on the Cuomo interview you have to also click the sound icon in the lower left of the screen). If you’re unable to play the Cuomo interview, you can find it by clicking here.
While a number of countries and airlines have grounded the 737 Max 8 until some answers can be had, the U.S. government and U.S. airlines have not.
Newsday, the newspaper serving Long Island, N.Y., has editorialized that “the FAA [has] not acted, and the two U.S. carriers that operate the MAX 8, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, said they would continue to fly the MAX 8’s and would not suspend fees for cancellations of flights on those planes.
“That’s a mistake, for several reasons: It’s not as if thousands of these planes have proven their reliability over a broad span of time. This model has no lengthy track record to counter fear. Two similar accidents in so short a period for a model that represents less than 2 percent of the world’s fleet is significant.
“Only two U.S. airlines have MAX 8, and neither has many. Just 24 of American Airlines’ 956 planes are MAX 8’s, and only 34 of Southwest’s 750 planes are. Allowing passengers to switch planes for free, or grounding these planes while the crashes are probed, isn’t going to impact airlines dramatically. The Association of Professional Flight Attendants told members Monday that American Airlines union members who feared flying on these Boeing models won’t be forced to do so. Ticketholders should not be treated differently.”
The editorial concludes: “Right now, there is too little known about what caused these crashes and whether Boeing, the airlines and regulatory agencies addressed concerns properly after the October crash. The FAA says the jets are still airworthy, but it will send updated guidance if necessary.
“Passengers are struggling with fear, communities are in mourning and families are grief-stricken. The airlines need to show both caution and compassion until Boeing and investigators supply answers.”
To read Newsday’s full editorial, please click here.