Beijing, China, Mar 11 – China and Ethiopia have suspended the commercial operation of the Boeing 737 MAX 8, citing the Ethiopian Airlines en route to Nairobi crash that killed all 157 people on board on Sunday.
Chinese authorities also cited another deadly accident of that same model in Indonesia.
Noting the “similarities” between the two accidents, China’s Civil Aviation Administration said domestic airlines had until 6:00 pm local time (1000 GMT) to ground all 737 MAX 8 aircraft.
Operation of the model will only resume after “confirming the relevant measures to effectively ensure flight safety”, the administration said in a statement.
The aviation authority will contact the US Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing, it said.
Ethiopia Airlines said it has grounded the B-737 8 Max models as an extra safety precaution.
“Although we don’t yet know the cause of the accident, we had to decide to ground the particular fleet as extra safety precaution,” said the Airline in a statement.
The accident comes barely six months after an Indonesia Lion Air flight crashed after takeoff from Jakarta in October, killing all 189 people on board.
China is an important market for the US aircraft company, accounting for about one-fifth of worldwide deliveries of Boeing 737 MAX models.
The company has delivered 76 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to Chinese airlines, which have ordered another 104, according to data from the aircraft maker’s website updated through January.
Boeing and joint venture partner Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) operate a plant in the eastern city of Zhoushan that completes the interiors of 737 MAX planes for Chinese airlines.
The factory delivered its first MAX 8 plane to Air China in December. The planes are assembled in Renton, Washington state, and taken to Zhoushan to finish the interior work, according to Boeing.