The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has banned the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft from operating in UK skies following the crash in Ethiopia that killed 157 people.
The move follows similar bans by a number of other countries.
The plane was involved in both Sunday’s disaster, in which all 157 people aboard were killed, and last October's Lion Air crash in Indonesia, in which the aircraft crashed into the sea.
A Lion Air 737 MAX 8
Both crashes were reported to have happened within minutes of the planes taking off.
In a Safety and Operational Directive citing the crash in Ethiopia the CAA said: ‘External reports are drawing similarities between this accident and Lion Air flight 610 on 29 October 2018 involving the same type of aircraft.
‘Given the similarity of the two accidents, it has been decided that as a precautionary measure that all Boeing 737-8 “MAX” and Boeing 737-9 “MAX” operations in the United Kingdom, whether by UK AOC [Air Operator Certificate] holders or foreign AOC holders and carriers, should stop until appropriate safeguards are in place.’
A spokesperson said: ‘Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by the tragic incident in Ethiopia on Sunday.
‘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 CAA said its safety directive will be in place until further notice. It said there are currently five 737 MAX aircraft registered and operational in the UK while a sixth planned to commence operations later this week.
It pointed out that the US Federal Aviation Administration is responsible for certifying all Boeing 737 MAX models and that it is the European Aviation Safety Agency that validates this certification across the EU, ‘including the UK’.