The list of countries grounding or denying airspace to the Boeing 737 MAX series of aircraft is growing, after a second deadly crash of the MAX 8 on Sunday when an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed soon after takeoff killing all 157 people on board.
The latest version of Boeing's best-selling 737 family – a global industry workhorse – has again been thrust into the spotlight after a fatal crash in Ethiopia, months after a deadly crash involving an identical almost new jet in Indonesia.
A Nairobi-bound Boeing 737 MAX 8 operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed on Sunday minutes after takeoff from Addis Adaba, killing all 157 on board. The same model flown by Lion Air crashed off the coast of Indonesia in October last year, killing all 189 on board.
There are still unanswered questions about the causes of the Lion Air crash, and officials and safety experts said it was too soon to draw links with the Ethiopian incident.
Boeing did not respond to questions about the 737 MAX 8 on Sunday but said in a statement it would send a technical team to the crash site to provide assistance.
Boeing's shares lost 12 percent in the weeks following the Lion Air crash, but had more than recouped those declines, closing on Friday at $422.54, 18 percent higher than before the October crash.
The US Federal Aviation Administration said it was ordering Boeing to improve anti-stalling software and the model's maneuvering system, giving the company until the end of April to make the updates.
But the body ruled out grounding the fleet for now. It said investigations had "just begun" and so far no data had been provided to "draw any conclusions or take any actions."
"If we identify an issue that affects safety, the FAA will take immediate and appropriate action," it said in a statement.
TRT World's Francis Collings reports.
Countries that have banned or grounded 737 MAX 8 aircraft:
Argentina's flagship carrier has joined airlines that have grounded their Boeing 737 Max 8 planes.
Aerolineas Argentinas said late Monday it had ordered the suspension as it awaited the result of investigations into the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines plane.
"For Aerolineas Argentinas, safety is the most important value," the company said in a statement on the grounding of its five 737 Max 8 planes, out of a total fleet of 82.
It comes after its pilots have refused to fly the jet.
Aeromexico, which has six 737 MAX 8s in its fleet, also announced that it was grounding the aircraft.
Australia's civil aviation safety authority has suspended Boeing 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 on Tuesday.
Australia's move only affects Singapore Airlines Ltd's Silk Air and Fiji Airways, as no Australian carriers currently use the model.
Belgium closed down its air space for Boeing 737 MAX planes, the country's news agency Belga quoted transport minister Francois Bellot as saying.
Cayman Airways said it would suspend flights for its two 737 MAX 8 planes "until more information is received," CEO Fabian Whorms said.
Beijing on 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.
South African airline Comair said it had "decided to remove its 737 MAX from its flight schedule."
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.
The European Union's aviation safety agency EASA suspended all flights in the bloc by Boeing's 737-8 and 737-9 air planes.
"EASA has decided to suspend all flight operations of the two affected models," the agency said in a statement.
The French civil aviation authority said it has banned Boeing 737 MAX aircraft from France's airspace.
"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 DGAC authority said.
Germany's transport ministry says the country is closing its airspace to Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, following a similar decision by Britain.
News agency dpa quoted Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer on its website as saying 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."
Brazil's Gol Airlines said it was temporarily suspending its commercial operations with the plane.
Britain on Tuesday joined the growing number of nations to suspend flights by Boeing 737 MAX aircraft over their territory.
"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 spokesperson said in a statement about Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.
"The UK Civil Aviation Authority's safety directive will be in place until further notice."
India's civil aviation ministry said Tuesday it has grounded the country's Boeing 737 MAX fleet.
"These planes will be grounded till appropriate modifications and safety measures are undertaken to ensure their safe operations," the ministry wrote on Twitter.
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.
Irish aviation authorities has suspended 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."
Malaysia has suspended all Boeing 737 MAX operations flying to and from the Asian nation and from crossing its airspace until further notice, the Malaysian civil aviation authority said.
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.
Dutch Infrastructure and Water Ministry spokesman Roel Vincken says the government decided to close its airspace on Tuesday following advice from the Dutch aviation authority.
Norwegian Air Shuttle suspended its Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft on Tuesday.
Oman says it is "temporarily suspending" flights by Boeing 737 Max aircraft at its airports.
State-owned Oman Air operates five Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.
Singapore's aviation regulator on 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.
CAAS temporarily suspends operation of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft into and out of Singapore. Read more here. https://t.co/zax5CPHgoC— SingaporeCAAS (@SingaporeCAAS) March 12, 2019
A South Korean airline says it will suspend operations of its two Boeing 737 Max 8 planes.
Eastar Jet said on Tuesday that the planes will be replaced by Boeing 737-800 planes from Wednesday on routes to Japan and Thailand.
It said it hadn't found any problems, but is voluntarily grounding Boeing 737 Max 8s in a response to customer concerns.
Turkish Airlines is suspending the commercial activities of 12 Boeing 737 MAX planes effective from March 13.
Vietnam says it will not grant any licences for Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft until the cause of the Ethiopian Airlines crash is determined.
Countries still flying the Boeing 737 MAX 8
Airline flydubai said it was "monitoring the situation" and that it was "confident in the airworthiness of our fleet."
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."
Air Italy said it would follow all directives "to ensure the maximum level of safety and security." In the meantime, the planes remain in the air.
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.
The Federal Aviation Administration said on Tuesday it will not ground the Boeing 737 MAX that has been involved in two fatal crashes since October despite a growing number of countries ordering the planes to stop flying.
Acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell said its "review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft." He added that no foreign civil aviation authorities have "provided data to us that would warrant action."
He added if any safety issues are identified during the ongoing "urgent review" of Sunday's Ethiopian Airlines crash it will ‘take immediate and appropriate action."
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.
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.