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European momentum heaps pressure on 737 Max

Several European air transport regulators have taken individual decisions to ban operations with the Boeing 737 Max, resulting in a patchwork response over use of the aircraft.

The UK, French and Irish civil aviation authorities are among those which have ordered suspension of operations with the re-engined type in the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines accident on 10 March.

Germany’s federal traffic minister has also stated that he is ordering a prohibition on 737 Max operations in German airspace.

There has been no indication from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency that it is co-ordinating the response.

The situation has been further complicated by several carriers’ independently taking the decision to ground their own Max fleets despite the absence of regulatory guidance.

Budget carrier Norwegian and Icelandair are each putting temporary suspensions in place, while TUI Group – which had been affected by the UK ban – has opted to extend the grounding to its entire Max fleet.

Turkish Airlines has also signalled that it is withdrawing Max flights from 13 March.

Gathering pressure in Europe over the situation, following selective measures in Asia and Latin America, has yet to be reflected in the USA. Boeing has acknowledged the individual decisions by regulators and carriers, but points out that the US FAA is not currently mandating any action.

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