By PETER ESILA
AIR Niugini will still take delivery of four Boeing 737 Max 8s it has ordered despite two recent major air crashes involving this type of aircraft, says managing director Alan Milne.
Two of the planes will be delivered next year and the other two in 2021. These are the same Boeing aircraft that, in less than six months, have been involved in two fatal air crashes with hundreds of people killed.
The latest was on Sunday morning in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where all 157 people on board died just six minutes after takeoff.
The other was a Lion Air crash in Indonesia in October in which all 189 people on board were killed during the air crash.
Air Niugini’s Boeing 737 which crashed into the sea off Chuuk Airport, Federated States of Micronesia, in September last year resulting in the death of one person, was not a Max 8.
“We have full confidence in the Boeing product and we look forward to introducing these new aircraft into our fleet,” Milne said.
“As investigations are continuing for both accidents, we cannot comment on the cause.
“However, we will ensure any findings or recommendations are incorporated prior to delivery of our aircraft.”
Yesterday it was reported that China has grounded its fleet of 96 Boeing 737 Max 8 jets after the Ethiopian incident, intensifying scrutiny on the best-selling model.
Chinese airlines accounted for about 20 per cent of 737 Max deliveries worldwide.
China Southern Airlines has 16 of the aircraft, with another 34 ordered. China Eastern Airlines has 13, while Air China has 14.
Other Chinese airlines to have bought the Max include Hainan Airlines Holdings, Shandoing Airlines.
A list provided in January last year showed Virgin Australia, which flies to Port Moresby, was also interested in the aircraft.
By PETER ESILA