A Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft crashed in Ethiopia over the weekend, resulting in 157 deaths. Just months earlier, 189 passengers died when the same type of plane operated by Lion Air crashed in Indonesia.
The aircraft in both fatal crashes is not some random, rarely flown plane. Rather, the 737 Max is Boeing’s fastest-selling plane series. It already has more than 4,700 orders for the 737 Max 7, 8, 9, and 10, according to the company website.
A New York Times analysis found that Southwest and American airlines are the top users of the Boeing 737 Max 8, the type of plane involved in the crashes. They have 34 and 24 of the planes in their fleets, respectively.
For those wary of flying on a Boeing 737 Max 8 after two crashes in five months, you can check before you book a flight which plane you’ll be on. For Southwest, all the information is contained in the flight number link. Just click on the number and a description of the aircraft will come up.
American includes flight information directly on the flight listing, or you can click the “Details” link to see the same information.
The cause of the Lion Air crash from October is still under investigation and authorities are still in the early stages of gathering information on the Ethiopian Airlines flight. Boeing wrote in a statement, “It is still early in the investigation, as we seek to understand the cause of the accident.”
On Monday, Boeing issued a statement about 737 Max flight control software that may have been a factor in the Lion Air crash. It is working with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to implement a software update to the fleet by April.
Then on Tuesday the company continued to stand by its planes, writing, “We have full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX.” It went on to explain that the FAA hasn’t issued any actions regarding the planes and Boeing will continue to operate as usual.
The New York Times found that the planes make more than 8,500 flights each week. China, Germany, and France have grounded all Max 8s, and other airlines have followed suit. But the U.S. airlines are still flying them.
Even President Donald Trump weighed in on the planes without specifically mentioning Boeing, writing on Tuesday on his Twitter account that “airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly.”