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Australia bars all 737 MAX planes from its airspace

Tuesday March 12 2019

SilkAir Boeing 737 MAX

A SilkAir Boeing 737 MAX aircraft (background C) is parked on the tarmac of Changi International Airport in Singapore on March 12, 2019 while a SilkAir Boeing 737-8SA (front) taxi on a runway. PHOTO | ROSLAN RAHMAN | AFP 

AFP
By AFP
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SYDNEY,

Australia on Tuesday barred Boeing 737 MAX planes from its airspace, joining a host of countries which have blocked the model after the deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash at the weekend.

"This is a temporary suspension while we wait for more information to review the safety risks of continued operations of the Boeing 737 MAX to and from Australia," Shane Carmody, CEO of Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority, said in a statement.

"CASA regrets any inconvenience to passengers but believes it is important to always put safety first."

Fiji Airways is the only 737 MAX operator affected by the Australian ban, according to CASA.

Singapore-based SilkAir used the planes for flights to Australia, but those were already suspended after the city-state barred the model from its airspace.

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In Argentina, the flagship carrier said late Monday that it had suspended the operation of its five 737 MAX 8s pending the result of investigations into the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines plane.

Earlier its pilots had refused to fly the jet.

Boeing, which has sent experts to assist in the Ethiopia probe, said safety is its "number one priority".

"The investigation is in its early stages, but at this point, based on the information available, we do not have any basis to issue new guidance to operators," the US manufacturer said in a statement.