China Southern Airlines has cancelled its order for up to 64 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft following a worldwide grounding as a result of two accidents involving the aircraft type in Indonesia and Ethiopia.
At a breakfast briefing in London, England, China Southern’s UK and Ireland Key Account manager, Dean Saxby revealed that the carrier had cancelled the rest of its orders for the Boeing 737 MAX 8. The airline has already taken delivery of 26 Boeing 737 MAX 8s, fitted with 178 seats in a 2 class configuration.
Saxby announced that the order was ‘no longer there’ and added that the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 had not ‘made a huge dent’ in the carrier’s operations.
He continued to say that with new aircraft being delivered, including the Airbus A350, the disruption from the grounding of the 737 MAX has been minimised.
The Boeing 737 MAX was grounded back in March after the aircraft type was involved in two separate accidents in Indonesia and Ethiopia.
Lion Air flight 610 departed Jakarta for Pangkal Pinang on 29 October 2018, however never made it to its final destination. 12 minutes after takeoff, the Boeing 737 MAX 8 registered PK-LQP, crashed into the Java Sea, killing all 189 people on board.
An Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi crashed 6 minutes after takeoff, with evident similarities to the Lion Air accident. All 157 people on board died.
Both accidents have been put down to MCAS’ failure, a flight system which adjusts the angle at which the aircraft is flying, preventing a stall for example. However, there is only one sensor on board meaning that if it fails, it could be deadly. So, on board both flights, investigators found that that’s exactly what happened, killing over 200 people.
In other news, Saxby revealed that the carrier is looking to expand at London Heathrow and added that China Southern is in discussions to acquire a third daily slot.
China Southern has got some significant expansion plans, and targets a fleet of over 1000 aircraft by the end of 2020. The carrier currently has a fleet of approximately 800 aircraft and is undoubtedly a major player in Asia.