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The airlines grounding Boeing 737 planes - and the ones carrying on as usual

Tom Belger
Finance and policy reporter

More than 100 Boeing planes have been grounded by airlines and authorities across the world since the tragic Ethiopian Airlines crash, as alarm over the jets grew among firms, governments and passengers.

The disaster killed all 157 people on board and sparked fears about the plane itself, as it was the same model involved in the Lion Air crash off Indonesia last October.

Not enough information has yet been revealed about the tragedy to link it to the previous crash or show exactly what caused it, but it has not stopped some airlines and governments taking radical action by grounding Boeing 737 Max 8 planes.

The UK’s civil aviation authority became the latest national watchdog to ban the planes from its airspace this afternoon. Shares in airlines including Norwegian Airlines immediately fell on the news.

But other airlines have said they will continue business as usual, saying they are confident about the safety of their planes and flights.

READ MORE: Boeing’s shares drop after Ethiopian Airlines crash

One former US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) accident investigator, Mike Daniel, called it “surreal” to see operators grounding aircraft so soon, calling it a “snowball effect” as the FAA had not acted swiftly to reduce uncertainty.

Here is how different airlines and governments have reacted so far, according to Reuters:

Airlines and countries grounding their Boeing 737 Max planes

Chart: Yahoo Finance

Aerolineas Argentinas

Argentina’s state-run airline has grounded its Boeing 737 Max 8 models.

AeroMexico

AeroMexico, the Mexican flagship carrier, has also suspended its use of the planes.

Australia

Australia’s regulator said it had temporarily halted the operation of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to or from the country, with a suspension to review the risks.

Australia said Fiji Airways and SilkAir would be affected by its temporary suspension.

Cayman Airways

The airline said it grounded both of its MAX 8 jets until it received more information on the crash.

China

The Chinese authorities grounded 96 MAX 8s including those operated by Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Hainan Airlines.

Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines operate 45 MAX 8 planes.

A spokesman for China’s foreign ministry said that it was hard to predict a detailed timetable for when the suspension would be lifted, saying passenger safety was paramount.

Eastar

South Korean budget carrier Eastar Jet will temporarily ground two 737 MAX 8s from Wednesday to cooperate with the government’s emergency safety inspections, an airline spokesman said.

Ethiopian Airlines

Ethiopian Airlines, at the centre of the disaster, has also grounded its other MAX 8 jets.

Gol

Gol in Brazil has temporarily suspended MAX 8 flights.

Indonesia

Indonesia said it would temporarily ground 737 MAX 8 jets operating in the country for inspections.

Malaysia

Malaysia suspended all Boeing 737 MAX operations flying to and from the Asian nation and from crossing its air space until further notice, according to the Malaysian civil aviation authority.

Oman

Oman temporarily stopped Boeing Co 737 MAX aircraft from flying to or from the Sultanate “until further notice,” according to its regulator.

State-owned Oman Air operates five 737 MAX 8 aircraft, according its website.

Singapore

Singapore’s Civil Aviation Authority suspended operations of all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in and out of their airports.

Singapore Airlines said its unit Silk Air, which operates 6 MAX 8 planes, has temporarily withdrawn them from service.

Other airlines that operate the 737 MAX aircraft to Singapore – China Southern Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Shandong Airlines and Thai Lion Air – are also affected.

South Korea

South Korea is conducting an emergency inspection on Eastar Jet’s two MAX 8 jets, an official told Reuters.

The South Korean budget carrier Eastar Jet said it would temporarily ground its two 737 MAX 8s from Wednesday to better cooperate with the government’s required emergency safety inspections, according to a spokesman.

United Kingdom

The British watchdog said: “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.”

Vietnam

Vietnam state media say its aviation regulator will not issue licences to local airlines to operate the 737 MAX until the cause of the Ethiopian crash is determined.

Airlines and countries allowing Boeing 737 Max planes to fly

Air Canada

“We have offered our assistance and are following closely the investigation. We have operated this aircraft type since 2017 and currently have 24 in our fleet. These aircraft have performed excellently from a safety, reliability and customer satisfaction perspective,” a spokesperson said.

American Airlines

American Airlines Group Inc released a statement on Tuesday saying extensive flight data from its fleets gives it confidence in the safe operation of all its aircraft, including the 737 MAX 8.

Brazil

The Brazilian air regulator has said it is not grounding the aircraft and that it was following the investigation.

Comair

The South African airline said it would monitor investigations into Sunday’s crash. It has ordered eight models of the aircraft and took delivery of the first one last month.

Fiji Airways

The airline which operates 2 MAX 8 planes said it was confident in the jet.

Flydubai

“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.

India

The regulator said it would issue additional safety instructions to Indian carriers operating the MAX 8. Jet Airways and SpiceJet Ltd operate the plane.

Norwegian Air

The company said it would continue to operate 737 MAX 8 jets as normal.

The airline has 18 MAX jets in its fleet of 164 aircraft at the end of 2018, and is expected to take delivery of dozens more the coming years.

Southwest Airlines

The airline said it remained fully confident in the aircraft and was closely monitoring the investigation.

Southwest Airlines Co, which operates the largest fleet of 737 MAX 8s, said it remained confident in the safety of all its Boeing planes even as it fielded queries from customers.

SpiceJet

The low-cost Indian airline said all 12 of its MAX 8s were currently flying and the company has ordered another 155 MAX planes.

Tui

“From our experience we can operate the aircraft safely,” a spokesperson said. The airline operates 17 MAX 8 jets.

Turkish Airlines

“We are in contact with Boeing, the aircraft producer, on the operations of the Boeing 737 Max,” CEO Bilal Eksi tweeted.

“Flight safety is our priority. We are closely monitoring developments. We are carrying out all our operations by keeping flight safety at the highest level.”

The airline operates 13 MAX 8 planes.

United States of America

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a “continued airworthiness notification” for the 737 MAX late on Monday to assure operators, and detailed a series of design changes mandated by Boeing.

Boeing issued a statement as well, saying it had been working with the FAA in the aftermath of a Lion Air crash to develop enhancements to flight control software that will be deployed across the 737 MAX fleet in coming weeks.

Virgin Australia

The Australian airline said it will continue to work with Boeing, the airline does not have any 737 MAX 8 aircraft currently and said its first delivery was not due until November.

WestJet

“We are monitoring the situation closely and will not speculate on the cause of the incident at this time. We have 13 MAX aircraft in our fleet of 121 Boeing 737s.”