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(Australian Associated Press)
Australia’s second-biggest airline says it won’t be flying any new Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft until it’s completely satisfied with its safety after the plane was involved in another fatal crash.
The Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max 8 fell from the sky minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa headed for Nairobi on Sunday, killing 157 people on board.
Virgin Australia has 30 of the jets on order, with the first due to be delivered before the end of 2019.
While it hasn’t canceled those planes, an airline spokesperson said safety was Virgin’s number one priority.
“Virgin Australia will not introduce any new aircraft to the fleet unless we are completely satisfied with its safety,” the airline said in a statement on Wednesday.
“We are closely monitoring the situation and will continue to work with Boeing, CASA, and other relevant authorities as more information becomes available.”
Virgin does not currently have Boeing 737 Max 8 planes in its fleet.
It comes after Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority on Tuesday suspended two international airlines from flying 737 Max planes to or from the country.
Singapore’s SilkAir has already grounded its fleet, a CASA spokesman said in a statement, while Fiji Airways will have to substitute its two 737 Max 8s for other aircraft.
The Ethiopian Airlines crash is the second involving Boeing’s latest 737 planes, five months after the same model was flown by Lion Air crashed off the coast of Indonesia in October, killing all 189 on board.
Boeing said it is closely watching the situation and monitoring any updates from Boeing and crash investigators into the cause of the accident.
The manufacturer confirmed it would enact software and training upgrades across the fleet in the coming weeks.
The suspension comes after airlines in South Africa, Mexico, Singapore and Indonesia enacted similar grounding orders on the 737 Max.
China also enforced a suspension on its 96 Max planes.