The Latest: Travel hub UAE suspends Boeing 737 Max 8, 9 jets

The Latest on Ethiopian Airlines crash (all times local):

4:40 a.m.

The United Arab Emirates, a key international travel hub, has barred the Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 from its airspace following the crash of a similar jetliner in Ethiopia.

The Emirates' General Civil Aviation administration made the announcement late Tuesday night.

It cited the similarities between Sunday's Ethiopian Airlines flight and another by Indonesia's Lion Air last year for its decision.

The budget carrier FlyDubai, owned by the Dubai government, uses the aircraft as a workhorse of its fleet.

FlyDubai said in a statement "is adjusting its schedule to minimise disruption to passengers."

It flies 11 Boeing 737 MAX 8s and two MAX 9s.


3:55 a.m.

New Zealand and Fiji have suspended Boeing 737 Max 8 flights in and out of the two countries following the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jetliner.

The decisions affect only one operator, Fiji Airways. No New Zealand airlines use the Max 8 planes.

Much of the world, including the entire European Union and Australia, has grounded the Boeing jetliner from their airspace, leaving the United States as one of the few remaining operators of the plane involved in two deadly accidents in just five months.

Graeme Harris, a director at New Zealand's Civil Aviation Authority, said the decision followed discussions with other aviation authorities.

Fiji Airways and Fiji's Civil Aviation Authority said they would ground the fleet until more information is known about the cause of the Ethiopian Airlines accident..


2:10 a.m.

The union for Air Canada flight attendants says the company is allowing flight attendants who don't want to fly on Boeing 737 Max airplanes to be reassigned and the union says they want that option to continue.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees issued a statement Tuesday asking the company to put the safety of passengers and crew first.

Wesley Lesosky, the president of the union's Air Canada component, says the union is calling on Air Canada "to at a minimum continue to offer reassignment to crew members who do not want to fly on this type of airplane." Union spokesman Philippe Gagnon says that option is currently being offered.

Before clearing his schedule to meet with experts, Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau said he has no plans to ground Canada's fleet of 737 Max aircraft, but that "all options are on the table."


1:45 a.m.

Boeing's CEO has spoken with President Donald Trump and voiced his confidence that plane maker's 737 Max is safe.

The call Tuesday came as the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration continues to back the airworthiness of the 737 Max despite a growing number of countries grounding the aircraft in the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines crash over the weekend.

The FAA says its review has so far not turned up any basis for grounding the jets.

Boeing said CEO Dennis Muilenburg spoke with Trump and expressed "his confidence in the safety of the 737 Max." The White House confirmed the two talked but did not disclose the content of the conversation.


12:20 a.m. Wednesday

Icelandair Group says it has temporarily suspended operations of its three Boeing 737 Max aircraft until further notice.

President and CEO Bogi Nels Bogason said Tuesday that the company will follow developments closely and work with local, European and U.S. authorities on any steps that need to be taken.

Bogason said, however, that based available information, Icelandair's safety processes and the training of its crew, the company is confident of the safety of the aircraft.

He said the temporary suspension won't impact the company's operations, as it only affects three aircraft out of a fleet of 33.


11:25 p.m. Tuesday

Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says the U.S. should ground the Boeing 737 Max aircraft, just as his agency halted flights of another Boeing plane six years ago because of safety concerns.

LaHood was transportation secretary in 2013 when the department grounded the Boeing 787 because of overheating lithium-ion battery packs. The planes were idled for less than a month, until Boeing crafted new fire-resistant compartments around the batteries.

LaHood says current Secretary Elaine Chao should do the same thing, even if it means overruling the FAA, which has taken no action despite dozens of other countries banning the plane from their skies.

He says that Chao has the authority to suspend the 737 Max and require inspections by both FAA and Boeing personnel.


10:55 p.m.

Kenya lost more citizens than anyone in the Ethiopian Airlines crash, and its transport minister is now trying to reassure a grieving country that no Kenyan airline has the Boeing 737 Max 8 plane in its fleet.

James Macharia in a statement late Tuesday also says "no foreign carrier is currently operating the aircraft type in Kenyan airspace." The statement appears to stop short of joining many countries in closing airspace to the plane.

As families of the 32 Kenyans killed seek answers, the minister says Kenya's government is working with Ethiopian Airlines to help relatives travel to Ethiopia's capital.

A global team of investigators is looking into the cause of the crash that killed 157 people.


9:40 p.m.

India says it is immediately grounding all Boeing 737 Max 8 planes after Sunday's Ethiopian Airlines crash.

A statement late Tuesday says the planes will be grounded till appropriate modifications and safety measures are undertaken to ensure their safe operations.

The statement does not say how many planes are affected.

India says it continues to "consult closely with regulators around the world, airlines and aircraft manufacturers to ensure passenger safety."


9:30 p.m.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said there will be a thorough investigation into the cause of the crash Sunday of the Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max 8 airplane in which 157 people died.

"The Ethiopian Airlines crash will be studied in detail. The conclusions that will come out of its probe will be beneficial to the rest of the world," said Abiy at a press conference with visiting French President Emmanuel Macron.

"Our technical team is conducting a detailed study," said Abiy. "These types of accidents broke everyone's heart. I hope we will learn from this crash."


9 p.m.

Italy is joining other European countries in closing its airspace to Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.

The Italian Civil Aviation Authority says aircraft of that type cannot operate to and from airports in Italy starting at 9 p.m. local time (2000 GMT) on Tuesday, until further notice.

The authority says the measure is precautionary, given the lack of "reliable information" regarding the cause of the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines jet shortly after takeoff on Sunday.

The European Aviation Safety Agency has just issued a directive grounding all Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 model aircraft. It applies to all European Union airspace.


8:50 p.m.

The European Aviation Safety Agency has issued a directive grounding all Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 model aircraft following two recent deadly crashes.

The grounding applies to all European Union airspace.

The crash in Ethiopia on Sunday came five months after an Indonesian Lion Air jet plunged into the ocean.

EASA said in its emergency airworthiness directive Tuesday that "at this early stage" of the most recent investigation, "it cannot be excluded that similar causes may have contributed to both events."

It adds that "based on all available information, EASA considers that further actions may be necessary to ensure the continued airworthiness of the two affected models."

It says companies may make one noncommercial flight to return their planes to a location where they can be inspected.


8 p.m.

Consumer Reports is calling on airlines and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to ground Boeing 737 Max 8 jets until they finish a thorough safety investigation.

The consumer website says in a statement that American, Southwest and other carriers should do what foreign governments and airlines have done and temporarily suspend flights.

Britain, Germany, France, China and other countries have stopped the planes from flying or barred them from their airspace after Sunday's deadly crash in Ethiopia.

Consumer Reports says the Ethiopian crash and a Lion Air crash in October justify grounding the planes.

"Telling the public that the airplane is airworthy, as the FAA has done, without offering further explanation, does far too little to relieve the uncertainty and fear created by these two tragedies," the statement says.


7:55 p.m.

Poland's state carrier LOT says it is grounding its five Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.

Several airlines in Europe and around the world have grounded the planes after a fatal crash in Ethiopia on Sunday and one in Indonesia last year.

LOT received its first Boeing 737 Max 8 in December 2017. It plans to have 15 such planes by January 2020.


7:45 p.m.

The Dutch government has followed several other European nations in closing its airspace to the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft that was involved in two recent fatal crashes.

Infrastructure and Water Ministry spokesman Roel Vincken says the government decided to close its airspace on Tuesday following advice from the Dutch aviation authority.

France, Britain and Germany also have announced airspace closures after the crash on Sunday of a Boeing 737 Max 8 in Ethiopia and another crash in October by the same model of plane in Indonesia.


7:30 p.m.

Turkish Airlines says two Britain-bound Boeing 737 Max flights are returning to Istanbul after British airspace was closed to the aircraft.

A company official told The Associated Press on Tuesday the planes — one heading for London and the other for Birmingham — were about to land in Istanbul after being diverted back. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

The company earlier announced that it was grounding all 12 Boeing 737 Max aircraft in its fleet until further notice.

— Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey


7:20 p.m.

Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau says "all options are on the table" with regard to the country's fleet of Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft but says the government currently has no plans to order the grounding of the plane.

Garneau's comments came minutes after announcements from Britain, Germany, France and Ireland that they were grounding or closing airspace to the new Boeing plane involved in the Ethiopian Airlines disaster.

He later tweeted that he has canceled all his meetings and public events on Tuesday to meet with his Civil Aviation Expert Panel and will consider all potential actions.

Canada is working with the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority to determine if action is required.


7:15 p.m.

No U.S. airlines have grounded the Boeing 737 Max 8 models that they fly, but at least one group representing flight attendants at a major carrier says it does not want to put its members on the plane until further investigations are completed.

After the second deadly crash involving the model in five months, several airlines and countries in Asia, Europe and the Middle East have grounded it or banned it from their airspace.

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents more than 26,000 flight attendants at American Airlines, called on CEO Doug Parker to "strongly consider grounding these planes until an investigation can be performed." The group said flight attendants will not be forced to fly if they feel unsafe.

Brian Parrish, a spokesman for Southwest Airlines which flies 34 Max 8s, said the carrier remains confident about the plane's safety. American Airlines Group, which flies 24 of the planes, said it has full confidence in the model.


7:05 p.m.

Turkish Airlines says it is grounding all Boeing 737 Max aircraft in its fleet until further notice.

In a statement issued on Twitter on Tuesday, Turkish Airlines CEO Bilal Eksi said all Boeing 737 Max flights are suspended until the "uncertainty affecting safety is cleared." He added that passenger safety was the company's priority.

Turkish Airlines is the latest company around the world to ground the planes following the Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday.


6:50 p.m.

The French Civil Aviation Authority has joined several other nations and closed French airspace to all Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.

In a statement Tuesday, the authority says that "France is carefully following the progress of the inquiry" relating to the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash in Addis Ababa on Sunday that left 157 people dead.

It says French airline companies do not possess any of the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.

But as a precautionary measure, French authorities have decided to "forbid all commercial flights on a Boeing 737 Max departing from, traveling to, or flying across, France."


6:40 p.m.

Irish aviation authorities have suspended all variants of Boeing 737 Max aircraft into and out of Ireland's airspace as European aviation regulators respond to recent crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

Irish authorities say they made the decision "based on ensuring the continued safety of passengers and flight crew."

The decision comes shortly after UK civilian aviation authorities took a similar step, motivated by the lack of information coming from the flight data recorder involved in the Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday.

Experts are chasing details on why the plane crashed shortly after takeoff, killing all 157 on board. But answers could take months and regulators are taking steps in the interim.


6:20 p.m.

Germany's transport ministry says the country is closing its airspace to Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, following a similar decision by Britain.

The ministry confirmed to news agency dpa on Tuesday comments made by Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer to n-tv television.

The broadcaster quoted 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."

Germany joins a rapidly growing number of nations and carriers either grounding the planes or barring them from their airspace.


5:35 p.m.

President Donald Trump is bemoaning the complexity of modern airplanes in the wake of two deadly crashes in the past five months.

Trump tweeted Tuesday that the additional "complexity creates danger" and hinders pilots from making "split second decisions" to ensure their passengers' safety.

He added that "I don't know about you, but I don't want Albert Einstein to be my pilot."

The president did not specifically mention the crashes but his remarks come after several nations, but not the United States, have grounded the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.

The aircraft crashed in Indonesia last year and in Ethiopia on Sunday.

Trump participated in a signing ceremony last month in Hanoi between U.S.-based Boeing and the Vietnamese government.


5:15 p.m.

Norwegian Air Shuttle says it has grounded its Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft on recommendation from European aviation authorities after Sunday's Ethiopian Airlines crash.

The Norwegian carrier has 18 of the planes.

Tomas Hesthammer, the low-cost carrier's acting chief operating officer, says that "the safety and security of our customers and colleagues will never be compromised, and once authorities advise to cease operations we will of course comply."

A growing number of airlines and countries around the world have grounded the planes.


4:45 p.m.

British regulators have grounded Boeing 737 Max aircraft following the Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority says in a statement Tuesday that though it had been monitoring the situation, it had as a precautionary measure "issued instructions to stop any commercial passenger flights from any operator arriving, departing or overflying UK airspace."

Some five 737 Max aircraft are registered and operational in the United Kingdom, while a sixth had planned to commence operations later this week.

Several countries have now grounded the planes.

Experts are chasing details on why the plane crashed shortly after takeoff, killing all 157 on board. Answers could take months.


4:40 p.m.

Malaysian authorities say all flights by Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft into and out of the country have been suspended following two fatal crashes involving the jet in less than five months.

The Civil Aviation Authority said in a short statement Tuesday that no Malaysian carriers operate the Max 8, but that foreign airlines are banned from flying the plane in Malaysia, and from transiting in the country, until further notice.

A number of airlines and countries around the world have grounded the planes after a fatal crash in Ethiopia on Sunday and one in Indonesia last year.


4:15 p.m.

Civil aviation authorities in the United Arab Emirates say they have joined U.S. authorities and Boeing "to investigate and collect data" regarding the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jetliner.

The General Civil Aviation Authority made the announcement Tuesday via the Emirates' state-run WAM news agency.

It comes as neighboring Oman says it will "temporarily suspend" all Boeing 737 Max aircraft at its airports.

The UAE's aviation authority says it also contacted Ethiopian Airlines and Chinese authorities.

The statement adds that "the GCAA will not be reluctant to ground the UAE-registered Boeing 737 Max fleet, if required, to ensure the highest standard of aviation safety is achieved."

The Dubai government-owned carrier FlyDubai uses the 737 Max on its flights.


3:55 p.m.

Oman says it is "temporarily suspending" flights by Boeing 737 Max aircraft at its airports after the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jetliner of the same type.

The Public Authority for Civil Aviation made the announcement Tuesday.

State-owned Oman Air operates five Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft. Oman is a sultanate on the eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula.

The crash of the Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max 8 on Sunday killed 157 people. A similar Lion Air plane crashed in Indonesia in October, killing 189 people.

Airlines around the world have begun grounding the aircraft as an investigation into Sunday's crash continues.


3:20 p.m.

A pilot who saw the Ethiopian Airlines crash site minutes after the disaster says the plane appeared to have "slid directly into the ground."

Capt. Solomon Gizaw was among the first people dispatched to find the crash site, which was discovered by Ethiopia's air force.

He tells The Associated Press that from above "there was nothing to see. It looked like the earth had swallowed the aircraft. ... We were surprised!"

He says it explains why rescue officials quickly sent bulldozers to begin digging out large pieces of the plane. He is the managing director of a private flight service.

Sunday's crash shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa killed all 157 on board.


1:25 p.m.

Ethiopian Airlines says it should take five days to identify the remains of the 157 people killed in Sunday's crash outside Addis Ababa.

Spokesman Asrat Begashaw tells The Associated Press that "it will take five days to clear everything" and the airline would release more details later Tuesday.

A global team of investigators led by Ethiopian authorities is assembling.

The cause of the crash of the new plane on a clear day remains unknown.


12:05 p.m.

Australia has suspended all flights into or out of the country by Boeing 737 Max aircraft, the type that was involved in Sunday's Ethiopian Airlines crash.

Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority says no Australian airlines operate the aircraft type, but two foreign airlines — SilkAir and Fiji Airways — fly them to Australia.

It says Singapore-based SilkAir has already suspended operation of its 737 Max aircraft.

The Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 plane crashed shortly after takeoff, killing all 157 people on board. Five months earlier, a similar Indonesian Lion Air jet plunged into the ocean, killing 189.

The Australian civil aviation authority's director of aviation safety, Shane Carmody, says that because of the two accidents, the temporary suspension of Boeing 737 Max operations is in the best interest of safety.


11:50 a.m.

A South Korean airline says it will suspend operations of its two Boeing 737 Max 8 planes, the same aircraft involved in the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash that killed 157 people.

An Eastar Jet official said Tuesday that the planes will be replaced by Boeing 737-800 planes from Wednesday on routes to Japan and Thailand. She didn't want to be named, citing office rules.

She says the airline hasn't found any problems, but is voluntarily grounding Boeing 737 Max 8s in a response to customer concerns. She says the planes will not be used until the completion of a government safety review on the aircraft.

An official from South Korea's Transportation Ministry says it has yet to find any problems from safety reviews on Eastar's planes that started Monday.


11:15 a.m.

The Mideast budget airline FlyDubai says it will continue to fly Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft after reviewing a recent U.S. regulator statement about the aircraft.

FlyDubai says that "no further action is required at this time" over the aircraft, a workhorse in the Dubai government-owned carrier's fleet.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said Monday that while others have drawn similarities between the Indonesia and Ethiopia crashes, the agency was not.

The FlyDubai statement says it remains "confident in the airworthiness of our fleet." It operates 11 Boeing 737 Max-8 jetliners.


10:15 a.m.

A team of U.S. aviation experts has arrived in Ethiopia to join an investigation into Sunday's crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jetliner that killed 157 people.

As questions grow about the new Boeing plane involved in the crash, the Federal Aviation Administration said late Monday it is at the crash site outside the capital, Addis Ababa, with representatives from the National Transportation Safety Board.

They join an Ethiopian-led investigation that includes authorities from neighboring Kenya and elsewhere.

The plane crashed six minutes into a flight to Nairobi and a growing number of countries and airlines have grounded the new Boeing 737 Max 8 jetliner as a result.

One witness has told The Associated Press that smoke was coming from the plane's rear before it crashed.