China has ordered domestic airlines to suspend commercial operation of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 citing the Ethiopian Airlines crash and another deadly accident of that same model in Indonesia.
Noting the "similarities" between the two accidents, China's Civil Aviation Administration said domestic airlines had until 6pm local time (10:00 GMT) to ground all 737 MAX 8 aircraft.
It said operation of the model will only resume after "confirming the relevant measures to effectively ensure flight safety", the administration said in a statement.
"Given that two accidents both involved newly delivered Boeing 737-8 planes and happened during take-off phase, they have some degree of similarity," it said, adding the order was in line with its principle of zero-tolerance on safety harzards. The 737 MAX 8 is sometimes referred to as the 737-8.
The aviation authority will contact the US Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing, it said.
The statement cited the Kenya-bound Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa on Sunday, killing all 157 people on board, including eight from China.
The Civil Aviation Administration also mentioned the Indonesia Lion Air flight, which crashed after take-off from Jakarta in October, killing all 189 people on board.
China is an important market for the US aircraft company, accounting for about one-fifth of worldwide deliveries of Boeing 737 MAX models.
The company has delivered 76 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to Chinese airlines, which have ordered another 104, according to data from the aircraft maker's website updated through January.
Chinese airlines have 96 737 MAX jets in service, the state company regulator said on Weibo.
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