Italian Civil Aviation Authority ENAC said on Tuesday that it was stopping flights with the Boeing 737 Max-8 aeroplane from 9pm onwards.
The decision came shortly before a separate announcement from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which said that, as a precautionary measure, it was “suspending all flight operations of all Boeing Model 737-8 Max and 737-9 Max aeroplanes in Europe.”
The blanket ban on the aircraft in Europe came following the decisions of many individual countries, as well as several airlines, to ground their B-737 Max 8 aircraft.
Workers remove wreckage from the site of the crash site of the Nairobi-bound Ethiopian Airlines flight Photo: Michael Tewelde/AFP
Outside of Europe some airlines are continuing to fly the aircraft pending an investigation into the crash and possible guidance from Boeing itself.
The Nairobi-bound plane was the same type as the Indonesian Lion Air jet that crashed in October, killing 189 passengers and crew – and some officials have detected similarities between the two accidents.
Lion Air Flight 610 vanished from radar shortly after taking off from Jakarta on October 29th, crashing into waters off the north coast of Java Island and killing all 189 people onboard.
About 30 relatives of the crash victims have since filed lawsuits in the United States against Boeing, alleging that faults with the new airliner, including with its anti-stalling system, led to the deaths.
Questions were raised by experts and a pilots' union in the US about whether pilots had been properly trained and whether Boeing had fully shared data about changes made to the on-board control systems.
Boeing responded by saying that the 737 Max was “as safe as any airplane that has ever flown the skies.”
There is no indication that a technical problem was to blame for the crash of the Boeing 737-800 Max operated by Ethiopian Airlines on Sunday which crashed minutes after taking off from Addis Ababa bound for Nairobi.
An investigation by aviation experts and analysis of the blackbox flight recorders is expected to shed light on the causes of the crash.
Max are some 350 of the 737 Max 8 planes currently in service around the world.