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Boeing’s share price slides following crash of 737-800 in China

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Shares in US aircraft manufacturer Boeing moved sharply lower after one of its 737-800 aircraft carrying more than a hundred people crashed in the mountains of southern China.

A China Eastern Airlines flight with 132 people on board disappeared from radar on its way to Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province.

Local media reported that there were no survivors found.

The troubled aerospace firm saw its shares tumble nearly 10% in early trading following the news, before settling 3.6% down for the day, wiping billions of dollars off the company’s market value.

There is currently little information available as to the cause of the crash, and air accident investigations can take years to conclude.

Unverified footage appeared to show a plane falling almost vertically from the sky.

Boeing Chief Executive Dave Calhoun told employees on Monday that the manufacturer had offered the full support of its technical experts in the crash investigation

He said in an email to employees he was limited by what Boeing could say about the investigation, which is being led by the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

Mr Calhoun said: “Trust that we will be doing everything we can to support our customer and the accident investigation during this difficult time, guided by our commitment to safety, transparency, and integrity at every step.”

A Shanghai Airlines Boeing 737-800
Image:
Boeing 737-800s, like this one operated by Shanghai Airlines, are popular with airlines around the world

Boeing has been plagued by regulatory and legal issues in recent years.

The Boeing 737-800 is the predecessor to the 737 MAX, an aircraft model that was banned in China – and dozens of other countries – for three years following two deadly crashes only a few months apart. It was recently allowed to return to service by Chinese regulators.

An 18-month inquiry into the two Boeing 737 MAX crashes – one in Ethiopia, and the other in Indonesia – that left 346 people dead, identified a “horrific culmination” of failures at the company and among regulators.

The US House of Representatives’ transportation and infrastructure committee released its highly critical report as the aerospace firm continues efforts to return 737 MAX planes to the skies after they were all grounded in March 2019.

The report concentrated on development activities at Boeing and scrutiny by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) after official accident reports blamed flight control software for both crashes.

It accused the manufacturer of withholding crucial information from the watchdog and pilots and declared that the FAA “failed to ensure the safety of the travelling public”.

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