Two S.Korean airlines decide not to put upcoming B737 Max 8s into service

Lim Chang-won Reporter Posted : 2019-03-14 14:41 Updated : 2019-03-14 14:41
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[Courtesy of Eastar Jet]

SEOUL -- Korean Air, the top flag carrier in South Korea, and T’way Air, a budget carrier, will not put B737 Max 8s into service when they are delivered this year until their safety is completely ensured.

This year, 14 B737 Max 8s are to be delivered to South Korean airlines -- six for Korean Air, four for Eastar Jet and four for T’way Air. Under a deal with U.S. aircraft giant Boeing in 2015, Korean Air has ordered 30 B737 Max 8s and an option of 20. The first delivery for Korean Air will come in May.

"Customer safety is our top priority," Korean Air said in a statement, adding it expects Boeing to take safety measures as soon as possible. The transport ministry has warned that it would ban the introduction of B737 Max 8s unless Boeing takes action for safety.

Jeju Air has agreed to buy 40 B737 MAX jets, and other budget carriers had planned to buy the same plane. Easter Jet is the only South Korean airline that has operated two B737 Max 8s. On Wednesday, the two B737 Max 8s were grounded for safety checks.

A B737 Max 8 operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed on Sunday shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa en route to Nairobi, killing 157 people. The same model of aircraft flown by Indonesian carrier Lion Air went down shortly after taking from Jakarta in October, killing 189 people.