Two Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft owned by the airline Tui Belgique en route to Brussels were redirected to other airports on Tuesday evening. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) closed EU airspace to the Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 9 on Tuesday from 8 p.m., said Tui Belgique spokesman, Piet Demeyere on Wednesday. The closure came two days after the Ethiopian Airlines crash involving a Boeing 737 MAX 8.
The two rerouted aeroplanes, coming from Egypt and The Gambia respectively, had to land at the closest available airports when the European airspace was closed. One went to Bologna in Italy and the other to Alicante in Spain.
Tui took responsibility overnight for the 300 affected passengers. “Their return to Belgium is anticipated for Wednesday afternoon,” said Demeyere.
It is the second time, in just a few months, that a Boeing 737 MAX 8 has crashed shortly after take-off. At the end of October, an aircraft owned by the low-cost airline Lion Air crashed into the sea in Java, killing 189 people on-board. On Sunday, 157 passengers and crew members died during an Ethiopian Airlines flight.
In the wake of these events, several European countries have decided to ground the 737 MAX aircraft for now. This has resulted in EASA suspending all MAX 8 and MAX 9 flights whether arriving into, departing from, or flying within the EU, and regardless of whether the airline operators are European or from third countries.