PARIS (AFP, REUTERS) - A number of countries have grounded Boeing's 737 Max 8 medium-haul workhorse jet in response to an Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed all 157 people on board.
The Nairobi-bound plane was the same type as the Indonesian Lion Air jet that crashed last October, killing 189 passengers and crew - with some detecting similarities between the two accidents.
There are some 350 of the 737 Max 8 planes currently in service around the world and while some countries and airlines have opted to ground the planes, others are continuing to fly the aircraft pending an investigation into the crash and possible guidance from Boeing itself.
Boeing has sent experts to assist in the Ethiopia probe and said safety was its "number one priority".
COUNTRIES THAT HAVE GROUNDED 737 MAX 8 JETS
Singapore: The aviation regulator of Asia’s second-busiest international airport and a key long-distance travel destination on Tuesday (March 12) completely banned the use of Boeing 737 Max aircraft in the country's airspace.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said it was "temporarily suspending operation of all variants of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft into and out of Singapore" in light of the two recent accidents.
Australia: The country's civil aviation safety authority on Tuesday suspended Boeing Co 737 Max aircraft from flying to or from Australia.
"This is a temporary suspension while we wait for more information to review the safety risks of continued operations of the Boeing 737 Max to and from Australia," Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority CEO Shane Carmody said in a statement.
South Korea: South Korea's transport ministry said on Tuesday it has advised Eastar Jet, the only South Korean airline that owns the B737-8 – the same model involved in the Ethiopian Airlines crash – to ground them.
“Eastar Jet has agreed to do so, and told us it will suspend the aircraft’s operations starting Wednesday,” the ministry said in a statement.
China: Beijing on Monday (March 11) ordered domestic airlines to suspend operation of the Boeing 737 Max 8, citing the two crashes.
Noting "similarities" between the two incidents, China's Civil Aviation Administration said operation of the model would only resume after "confirming the relevant measures to effectively ensure flight safety".
China is a hugely important market for the US aircraft company, accounting for about one-fifth of worldwide deliveries of Boeing 737 Max models.
Indonesia: Indonesia said it was grounding its 11 jets of the 737 Max 8 type.
Inspections of the aircraft would start on Tuesday and the planes would remain grounded until they were cleared by safety regulators, Director-General of Air Transport Polana Pramesti told reporters.
South Korea: South Korea's transport ministry said that the two Boeing 737 Max 8 planes operated by the country's budget airline Eastar Jet would be grounded pending an inspection.
Mongolia: The Mongolian Civil Aviation Authority said on Facebook it had ordered the state carrier MIAT Mongolian Airlines to ground the sole Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft in its fleet.
Malaysia: On Tuesday (March 12), the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia said it is immediately suspending the operations of the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft "flying to or from Malaysia and transiting in Malaysia until further notice". No Malaysian carrier currently operates the model, the aviation authority said. It did not say which airlines regularly operate the planes in the country’s airspace.
UK: The UK Civil Aviation Authority issued a directive on Tuesday (March 12) to suspend use of Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 planes in British airspace. A spokesman for the regulator said in a statement about the Boeing 737 Max aircraft: "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."
Bermuda: Bermuda has prohibited Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 and 737 MAX 9 aircraft from its airspace until further notice following Sunday’s deadly plane crash in Ethiopia, the British overseas territory’s aviation authority said on Tuesday.
European Union: The European Union’s aviation safety regulator on Tuesday suspended all flights in the bloc by Boeing 737 Max. It noted that the “exact causes” of the Lion Air crash were still being investigated. “Since that action, another fatal accident occurred,” the EASA said, referring to Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines disaster. “At this early stage of the investigation, it cannot be excluded that similar causes may have contributed to both events,” the agency said.
India: The South Asian nation late on Tuesday joined the list of countries to close its airspace to the jet, a day after saying it had imposed additional interim safety requirements for ground engineers and crew for the aircraft.
Vietnam: Vietnam state media reported the aviation regulator will not issue licences to local airlines to operate the 737 MAX until the cause of the Ethiopian crash is determined. Vietnamese airline Bamboo Airways, which announced last month it was in talks to buy 25 Boeing 737 planes, declined to comment.
New Zealand: New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said it was imposing the temporary suspension after consultation with other regulators. “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,” the CAA said in a statement.
AIRLINES THAT HAVE GROUNDED JETS
Ethiopian Airlines: Ethiopian Airlines said on Monday it had grounded its Boeing 737 Max 8 fleet "until further notice".
"Although we don't yet know the cause of the accident, we have to decide to ground the particular fleet as an extra safety precaution," said the state-owned carrier, Africa's largest.
Comair: South African airline Comair said it had "decided to remove its 737 Max from its flight schedule".
Cayman Airways: Cayman Airways said it would suspend flights for its two 737 Max 8 planes "until more information is received", CEO Fabian Whorms said.
Gol Airlines: Brazil's Gol Airlines said it was temporarily suspending its commercial operations with the plane.
Aeromexico: Aeromexico, which has six 737 Max 8s in its fleet, also announced that it was grounding the aircraft.
Aerolineas Argentinas: Pilots from Argentina's Aerolineas Argentinas have refused to fly the jet.
Turkish Airlines: One of the largest carriers in the world, Turkish Airlines said it was suspending its 12 MAX aircraft from Wednesday, until “uncertainty” was clarified.
S7: Russia’s S7 airlines said it has grounded its fleet of Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.
Aeromexico: Mexico’s Aeromexico said it was suspending Boeing 737 Max operations.
COUNTRIES STILL FLYING JETS
US: Boeing, which has sent experts to assist in the Ethiopia probe, said safety is its "number one priority".
"The investigation is in its early stages, but at this point, based on the information available, we do not have any basis to issue new guidance to operators," the US manufacturer said in a statement.
The US Federal Aviation Administration said it would take "immediate" action if there were safety concerns.
Southwest Airlines, which operates 34 of the 737 Max 8 planes, said: "We remain confident in the safety and airworthiness of our fleet of more than 750 Boeing aircraft." A person with knowledge of the matter told Agence France-Presse that American Airlines planned to continue operating its two dozen 737 Max 8s.
Italy: Air Italy said it would follow all directives "to ensure the Maximum level of safety and security". In the meantime, the planes remained in the air.
Iceland: Icelandair operates three Boeing 737 Max 8. Its operations chief told Frettabladid newspaper it would be "premature" to link the crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia together.
This could change depending on the outcome of an ongoing probe but "for now, there is no reason to fear these machines".
Oman: Oman Air said it was in contact with Boeing "to understand if there are any implications for other airlines operating the same model".
Canada: Canada said it was not grounding the Boeing 737 Max 8, but it was ready to act on new information.
Fiji: Fiji Airways, which operates 2 Max 8 planes, said it was confident in the jet.
United Arab Emirates: flydubai airline said it was not suspending flights of the jet. “We are monitoring the situation and continue to be in touch with Boeing. We remain confident in the airworthiness of our fleet.” The airline has 12 MAX 8 jets in its fleet. A flydubai spokeswoman said that post-review of the continued airworthiness notification received from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), no further action was required.