Published date: 13 March 2019

Media release

New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority has suspended the operation of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to or from New Zealand.

Currently this affects only one operator, Fiji Airways. There are no other airlines that fly this aircraft type to New Zealand.

The Director of Civil Aviation, Graeme Harris, said that “Because of the very low utilisation of this type of aircraft on flights into and out of NZ - for example the next scheduled flight by the type is not until tomorrow afternoon - the CAA has had time to thoroughly review concerns about the B737 MAX series aircraft following the tragic accidents involving the type in Indonesian and Ethiopia.

The decision to suspend operations by the aircraft follows recent discussions with other aviation authorities, including the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) which have responsibility for oversight of the design of the aircraft. The CAA’s assessment has taken into consideration the level of uncertainty regarding the cause of the recent Ethiopian Airlines accident plus its review of the aircraft design”.

“This is a temporary suspension while we continue to monitor the situation closely and analyse information as it comes to hand to determine the safety risks of continued operation of the Boeing 737 MAX to and from New Zealand.” Mr Harris said.

“The CAA regrets any inconvenience to passengers on Fiji Airways flights in and out of New Zealand but believes it is important to take this action until more information is available on the cause of the two B737 MAX accidents.”