PARIS: A number of countries have grounded Boeing's 737 MAX 8 medium-haul workhorse jet in response to the 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 in October, killing 189 passengers and crew -- and some officials have detected similarities between the two accidents.
There are some 350 of the 737 MAX 8 planes currently in service around the world. 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, which has sent experts to assist in the Ethiopia probe, says safety is its "number one priority".
Countries that have grounded 737 MAX 8s -
Singapore's aviation regulator Tuesday 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.
Beijing Monday 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 said it was grounding its 11 jets of the 737 MAX 8 type.
Inspections of the aircraft would start 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's transport ministry said Tuesday it had advised Eastar Jet, the nation's only airline to operate Boeing 737 MAX 8s, to ground its two planes. The budget airline had agreed to suspend its use of the aircraft starting Wednesday, it added.
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.
Australia on Tuesday barred Boeing 737 MAX planes from its airspace. Fiji Airways is the only 737 MAX operator affected by the Australian ban, according to Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority, as Singapore-based SilkAir's planes were already covered by a ban imposed by the city-state.
Airlines that have grounded jets -
Ethiopian Airlines said 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.
South African airline Comair said it had "decided to remove its 737 MAX from its flight schedule".
Cayman Airways CEO Fabian Whorms said it would suspend flights for its two 737 MAX 8 planes "until more information is received".
Brazil's Gol Airlines said it was temporarily suspending its commercial operations with the plane.
Aeromexico, which has six 737 MAX 8s in its fleet, announced that it was grounding the aircraft.
Argentina's flagship carrier said late Monday that it had suspended the operation of its five 737 MAX 8s pending the result of investigations into the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines plane. Earlier its pilots had refused to fly the jet.
Countries still flying jets -
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 AFP that American Airlines planned to continue operating its two dozen 737 MAX 8s.
Russian airline S7 said it was closely following the crash investigation and was in contact with Boeing, but had received no instructions to stop flying the 737 MAX 8.
National carrier Turkish Airlines said Tuesday it was suspending flights using its fleet of 12 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft following the deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash at the weekend.
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.
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".
Low-cost airline Norwegian Air Shuttle said on Tuesday it would suspend flights of its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft until further notice.
Norwegian, which operates 18 such planes, will keep them grounded pending advice from aviation authorities, operations chief Tomas Hesthammer told AFP in an email.
Airline Flydubai said it was "monitoring the situation" and it was "confident in the airworthiness of our fleet".
Oman and UAE
Oman and the United Arab Emirates barred flights by Boeing 737 MAX aircraft on Tuesday following the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jetliner, closing down two key markets for the aeroplane on the Arabian Peninsula.
Oman's Public Authority for Civil Aviation made the sultanate's announcement, without elaborating on its reasoning.
The state-owned Oman Air, which operates five Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, said flights operated by those planes "will be suspended as soon as possible.
India Tuesday grounded Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft in light of the Ethiopian Airlines crash, in which 157 people were killed.
SpiceJet has around 12 '737 Max 8' planes in its fleet, while Jet Airways has five.
"DGCA has taken the decision to ground the Boeing 737-MAX planes immediately. These planes will be grounded till appropriate modifications and safety measures are undertaken to ensure their safe operations," the Ministry of Civil Aviation said in a tweet.
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.
Britain on Tuesday joined four other countries in banning Boeing 737 MAX planes from their airspace as a growing number of airlines around the world grounded the jets following a second deadly accident in just five months.
Germany on Tuesday banned all Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes from its airspace, Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer announced, following a deadly crash in Ethiopia.
"Safety comes first. Until all doubts have been cleared up, I have ordered that German airspace be closed to all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft with immediate effect," he told NTV television.
The UK on Tuesday became yet another country to ban the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft from its airspace in the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines crash involving the model.
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.
Ireland on Tuesday banned Boeing 737 MAX planes from its airspace following a deadly crash in Ethiopia involving the US passenger jet, matching a move taken by other nations.
"The Irish Aviation Authority has decided to temporarily suspend the operation of all variants of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft into and out of Irish airspace," the IAA said in a statement.
Greece's civil aviation agency on Wednesday said it had closed its airspace to Boeing 737 MAX aircraft after the Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people over the weekend.
"All airports have been ordered to ban flights of the specific model in Greek airspace as of yesterday afternoon," civil aviation agency head Constantinos Lintzerakos told state news agency ANA.
Serbia's aviation authorities barred Boeing 737 MAX planes from the country's airspace, a spokesperson told AFP Wednesday, joining a wave of government bans worldwide after a second deadly crash involving the model.
Serbia has also banned the aircraft "for take-off and landing at all airports" in the country, a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Directorate said of the measure, which went into effect Tuesday.
Hong Kong on Wednesday barred Boeing 737 MAX airliners from its airspace, the latest in a series of government bans worldwide in the wake of a deadly plane crash in Ethiopia.
New Zealand :
New Zealand's aviation watchdog joined counterparts worldwide on Wednesday in banning Boeing 737 MAX aircraft from its airspace in the wake of a deadly plane crash in Ethiopia.
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.