MU5735: China Eastern Grounds Entire Boeing 737-800 Fleet

Alec Wilson from Khon Kaen, Thailand, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The article was written jointly by James Field & Joris Wendt

LONDONFollowing the crash of China Eastern flight MU5735, the carrier has decided to ground all 108 Boeing 737-800 aircraft that the carrier is currently operating.

According to the carrier currently has 108 Boeing 737-800 aircraft of which 104 are already grounded.

The carrier also operates 39 737-700 aircraft, the smaller variant of the 737NG.

The grounding of the carriers 737-800 fleet comes after a 737-800 operating a routine domestic flight from Kunming to Guangzhou crashed in Teng County, the Wuzhou Prefecture.

Crash Recap…

The aircraft had 123 passengers and 9 crew members on board. According to news reports, there are no survivors.

Footage of the crash from a CCTV camera emerged shortly after the crash, showing the plane descending at an almost 90-degree angle.

China Eastern operated a narrow-body fleet consisting of Airbus A320 family aircraft and Boeing 737 family aircraft, with the latter one accounting for about 29% of the narrow-body fleet.

The grounding of the 737-800 will most likely result in numerous amounts of flight cancellations as the carrier will not be able to keep up its schedule.

Grounding Isn’t Surprising For Different Reasons…

The move to ground an entire fleet of jets is not surprising, especially with the safety record that China has had before this crash.

MU5735 was the first crash to happen on Chinese soil in 12 years, with the last one happening in August 2010.

However, Chinese media were keen to slate the safety of the aircraft itself, more on the side of Boeing producing such jets.

CGTN released an article today mentioning there were 22 accidents involving the -800 in its history, with 10 among them being fatal.

This in the wake of the MAX crisis will no doubt hinder relations with China as it tries to put itself on the front foot against the U.S Government and the companies representing them.


As mentioned in previous articles today, all we can do is sit back and wait for the findings of the investigation to be released, with FlightRadar24 believing this will take around a year.

It is a sad event that has happened today, and it is hoped that transparency in the investigation, including the underlying causes are established as soon as possible to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again.

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