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Greece Joins Countries Suspending All Boeing 737 MAX Flights

Greece is among dozens of countries worldwide that have decided to suspend all Boeing 737 MAX 8 flights out of its airports in alignment with a decision by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) after a fatal Ethiopian Airlines flight crash on Sunday.

Speaking to the Athens News Agency (ANA), Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority Governor Konstantinos Linzerakos said that Greece had gone ahead and banned all Boeing 737 MAX 8 flights through Greek airspace on Tuesday evening.

Meanwhile, citing an Airworthiness Directive, EASA said it was suspending all commercial flights carried out by third-country operators into, in or out of the EU on Boeing 737-8 MAX and 737-9 MAX aircraft as a “precautionary measure” to ensure passenger safety.

The decision comes after the second deadly accident in less than six months  involving the same type of aircraft. Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines accident on a B737-8 left 157 people dead.

Low cost airline Lion Air Indonesia Flight 610 on a Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed in October, last year shortly after takeoff from Jakarta leaving 188 people on board dead.

Ethiopian authorities in cooperation with the National Transportation Safety Board and EASA are carrying out an investigation after recovering the flight data recorders from the plane in efforts to determine the cause of the crash.

“The accident investigation is currently ongoing, and it is too early to draw any conclusions as to the cause of the accident,” said EASA.

On its part, TUI, which operates the Boeing Max 8 for its charter flights out of the UK, said in a statement that it had too grounded its 737 Max 8 aircraft.

“TUI will also discontinue all Boeing 737 MAX 8 flights across all airlines of the TUI Group for the time being, to allow for more time to discuss the matter with the respective authorities and the manufacturer,” the company said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Turkish Airlines also announced that it had suspended 12 of its B737 MAX passenger planes until further notice.

Launched in 2011, the narrow-body Boeing 737 MAX is the fourth Boeing 737 generation succeeding the B737 Next Generation (NG) gaining US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification in 2017. The FAA said on Monday that it would require a series of design changes for the Boeing 737 Max fleet.

Other countries to have halted operations of the said aircraft include the UK, France, Ireland, Germany, Australia, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Singapore, China Malaysia, Argentina, Belgium, and Norway.

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