Oman bans operations of Boeing 737 Max 8

Muscat: The Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) on Wednesday suspended operations of Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft into and out of all airports in the country until further notice.

The national airline, Oman Air, is the main operator of this model of aircraft in the Sultanate. It has five aircraft in the fleet, followed by 25 on order.

In a separate statement, Oman Air said: “All Oman Air flights operated by Boeing 737 Max 8 will be suspended as soon as possible. We are in the process of rescheduling flights and will inform travellers of any further cancellations.”

Oman Air said it will cancel a number of flights between March 12 and 19 due to the grounding of its 737-Max fleet.

“Please note that all guests will be automatically re-accommodated on to alternative/next available flights,” the airline said.

“In the event if guests are not satisfied with the rebooked option, one additional free date change may be offered subject to the following conditions – rebooking must be in the same class as originally booked only, rebooked flight date must be within 30 days of originally booked flight, refunds only as per ticketed fare rules and re-routes only as per ticketed fares rules,” it said.

On Monday, Oman Air said it is monitoring the situation with regard to 737 Max 8 aircraft and is in close contact with the manufacturer Boeing to understand if there are any implications for other airlines operating the same model. It added that the safety and well-being of the guests are over-riding considerations.

The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority issued a decision banning the operation of all Boeing 737 MAX models in its airspace with effect from March 13.

Egypt has barred the passage, takeoff and landing of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, the civil aviation ministry said in a statement.

No Egyptian airlines, including flagship carrier EgyptAir, have Boeing 737 MAX jets in their fleets, the statement said.

Meanwhile, Britain, France, Germany, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Ireland, and Turkey have joined a growing list of countries banning Boeing 737 MAX aircraft from their airspace until further notice after a passenger plane crash in Ethiopia killed 157 people on Sunday.

The Tuesday announcements dealt further blows to Boeing, which is already reeling after China, Australia and several other countries grounded 737 MAX 8 models.

The United States on Tuesday said it will mandate that Boeing implement design changes by April that have been in the works for months for the 737 MAX 8 fleet after a fatal crash in October, but said the plane was airworthy and did not need to be grounded after a second crash on Sunday.