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Boeing defends 737 Max amid wave of groundings

Boeing continues to defend the safety of the 737 Max, issuing a statement saying it has "full confidence" in the type even as multiple civil aviation authorities and airlines outside North America ground the aircraft.

The latest of those authorities is the United Arab Emirates, which grounded the 737 Max late on 12 March, according to reports. UAE carrier Flydubai confirms it has grounded its 13 737 Max in response to the order.

A Flydubai spokesperson says the airline is adjusting its schedule to minimise disruptions and will operate affected flights with 737-800s.

The carrier is the newest addition to a growing group of global airlines to have grounded the 737 Max since the 10 March crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max 8 near Addis Ababa.

Boeing, however, reiterated on 12 March that it stands behind the 737 Max, saying: "Safety is Boeing’s number one priority and we have full confidence in the safety of the 737 Max."

"We understand that regulatory agencies and customers have made decisions that they believe are most appropriate for their home markets," it adds. "We’ll continue to engage with them to ensure they have the information needed to have confidence in operating their fleets."

Boeing also notes the Federal Aviation Administration has taken no regulatory action since an airworthiness directive last year. "And based on the information currently available, we do not have any basis to issue new guidance to operators," Boeing says.

The company has communicated almost exclusively through statements in recent days, in response to a worldwide wave of 737 Max groundings, including those ordered by civil aviation authorities and voluntary actions by airlines.

Airlines and regulators in various jurisdictions, including in Europe and the UK, as well as those in Argentina, Brazil, China, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, South Korea and Singapore have grounded the aircraft.

Boeing has faced pressure at home also, with some politicians urging a grounding. The Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents American Airlines cabin crew, has also called on the FAA to ban 737 Max flights. American operates 24 737 Max 8s, Cirium's Fleets Analyzer shows.

The Fort Worth-based carrier did not immediately to requests for comment.

Southwest Airlines' pilot union says it supports the airline's decision to continue operating the 737 Max. The Dallas-based carrier operates 34 737 Max 8s.

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