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Europe bans Boeing 737 MAX: Planes grounded, diverted as nations shut airspace over Ethiopia crash

Europe bans Boeing 737 MAX: Planes grounded, diverted as nations shut airspace over Ethiopia crash
An Israeli-bound Norwegian Airlines plane has been forced to return to Stockholm, just one of the troubled Boeing 737 MAX jets being diverted in Europe as nations close their airspace one by one over the deadly crash in Ethiopia.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on Tuesday announced an EU-wide airspace ban on the aircraft in order to “ensure the safety of passengers.” At the same time, they made clear it was too early to draw conclusions on the cause of the crash.

The ban follows an avalanche of bans and suspensions from European countries and carriers.

As announcements of the suspensions started to come in, a number of planes were forced to turn around mid-flight. Data from tracker website Flightradar24 shows that Norwegian flight DY4545 got as far as Romania before the plane was diverted back to Stockholm Arlanda Airport. Two flights from Turkey also made an about-face over European airspace.

The bans were issued in light of the Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday – the second disaster involving the new Boeing jet in the last six months.

On Tuesday, Austria, Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, UK, Singapore, Malaysia, Norway, Belgium, Oman, Indonesia, Poland and the Netherlands announced they would be suspending all flights involving the Boeing aircraft, joining several other nations and airlines that announced bans the day before. At least 27 airlines have now grounded the Max 8.

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Meanwhile in the US, despite several politicians calling on the FAA to ground the aircrafts, the aerospace organization has maintained they are safe to fly and declined to take any action.

Late on Tuesday, Russia's S7 Airlines, which operates two Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, said it has suspended the operation of the planes until the exact causes of the Ethiopia crash are established. 

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