A growing number of countries around the world have barred Boeing 737 MAX 8 from their airspace following the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane that claimed 157 lives on Sunday.
The crash of Ethiopian Airlines plane came five months after another Boeing 737 MAX 8 of Lion Air crashed in Indonesia that killed 189 passengers and crew. Reports said there were similarities between the Ethiopian and Indonesian air crashes as they both occurred during take-off, involving new aircraft that had just been delivered.
As investigators probe the latest deadly crash, US President Donald Trump weighed in Tuesday with his own explanation: modern planes are too complicated for pilots.
Despite a wave of countries grounding the Boeing aircraft involved in another deadly crash, US authorities on Tuesday said it would not make any decision until it has more evidence.
"Given the circumstances of the accident in Ethiopia, the French authorities have taken the decision, as a precautionary measure, to ban all commercial flights of Boeing 737 MAXs into, out of, or over French territory," the French civil aviation authority said.
German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer told n-tv television safety is the priority, and “until all doubts are cleared up, I have ordered that German airspace be closed for the Boeing 737 Max with immediate effect.”
The UK's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said passenger airlines using the aircraft will not be allowed to operate in or over UK airspace "as a precautionary measure" until further notice.
“The UK Civil Aviation Authority has been closely monitoring the situation, however, as we do not currently have sufficient information from the flight data recorder we have, as a precautionary measure, issued instructions to stop any commercial passenger flights from any operator arriving, departing or overflying UK airspace,” a CAA spokesperson said.
Australia has announced a temporary ban on flights by Boeing 737 Max aircraft, although none of its airlines currently operate them. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority said Tuesday that the ban will affect two foreign airlines — SilkAir and Fiji Airways — that use them for flights to Australia. The authority said Singapore’s SilkAir has already grounded its 737 Max jets, and that it is working with regulators there and in Fiji to minimize disruptions. It said that Fiji Airways has two 737 Max 8 jets in its fleet. The airline had hoped to continue flying the jets to Pacific destinations.
"The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia with immediate effect is suspending the operations of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft flying to or from Malaysia and transiting in Malaysia until further notice," said a statement from the aviation regulator's chief executive Ahmad Nizar Zolfakar.
China said that Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes will not be allowed to fly until their security is guaranteed, as it ruled out any politics behind its decision to ground nearly 100 such aircraft after the deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash.
India is likely to ban the use of Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft by the country's airline companies and the decision on the issue may be taken on Wednesday, a senior official of aviation watchdog DGCA said Tuesday. Earlier, Jet Airways said it is “in contact with the manufacturer” of Max 8 jets and has grounded five of them starting Monday. Indian airline SpiceJet also uses the aircraft, but it’s unclear if those planes are grounded.
Indonesia said it would temporarily ground Max 8 jets to inspect their airworthiness. Director General of Air Transportation Polana B. Pramesti said the move was made to ensure flight safety.
Irish aviation authorities have suspended flights by all variants of Boeing 737 Max aircraft into and out of Ireland’s airspace. Irish authorities say they made the decision “based on ensuring the continued safety of passengers and flight crew.”
Mexican airline Aeromexico has suspended flights of its six Max 8 jets. Aeromexico said it “fully” trusts the safety of its fleet but ordered the grounding to ensure “the safety of its operations and the peace of mind of its customers.” It said other planes will take over the routes usually flown by the Max 8.
Icelandair said it had suspended flights of its three Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. "Icelandair Group has decided to temporarily suspend operations of its three Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft until further notice," it said in a statement.
Singapore has temporarily banned Max 8 jets — and other models in the Max range — from entering and leaving the country.
South Korean airline Eastar Jet said it would suspend operations of its two Boeing 737 Max 8 planes and replaced them with Boeing 737-800 planes starting Wednesday on routes to Japan and Thailand.
In a statement on Twitter Tuesday, Turkish Airlines CEO Bilal Eksi said all Boeing 737 Max flights are suspended until the “uncertainty affecting safety is cleared.” He added that passenger safety was the company’s priority.