UK suspends operation of Boeing 737 Max 8 planes 'until further notice'

Wreckage lies at the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed shortly after takeoff at Hejere near Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, on March 10. Picture: AP Photo.
Wreckage lies at the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed shortly after takeoff at Hejere near Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, on March 10. Picture: AP Photo.

The UK's Civil Aviation Authority is banning any commercial passenger flights by Boeing 737 Max aircraft from "arriving, departing or overflying UK airspace", it has announced.

The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority announces it is banning any commercial passenger flights by Boeing 737 Max aircraft from “arriving, departing or overflying UK airspace”

In a statement, the CAA 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.

"The UK Civil Aviation Authority's safety directive will be in place until further notice.

"We remain in close contact with the European Aviation Safety Agency and industry regulators globally."

TUI Airways, which has the only five 737 Max 8 aircraft operated by a UK-based airline and was due to begin flying a sixth later this week, said in response to the CAA announcement that other aircraft would be used to transport passengers who were due to fly in the jets.

The statement said: "TUI Airways can confirm that all 737 MAX 8 aircraft currently operating in the UK have been grounded following the decision from the UK regulatory authorities today.

"Any customers due to fly home today on a 737 MAX 8 from their holiday will be flown back on another aircraft.

"Customers due to travel in the coming days will also travel on holiday as planned on other aircraft.

"The safety and well-being of our customers and staff has remained our primary concern."

A growing number of airlines around the world have grounded their Boeing 737 Max 8 jets following the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane that killed 157 people on Sunday.

The aircraft have also been grounded in Ethiopia, Brazil, Cayman Islands, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, Oman, and Malaysia.