The CAA has ordered the suspension of Boeing 737 MAX operations in the UK.
It comes after Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 302 crashed shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa on Sunday (March 12). All 157 people on board were killed, including nine British nationals and one Irish national.
The move by the CAA follows similar moves by aviation authorities in Australia, China, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Oman. A number of airlines, including Ethiopian itself, have taken their 737 MAX aircraft out of service, including Cayman Airlines, Brazil’s GOL, Argentina’s Aerolineas and Aeromexico
A CAA spokesperson said: “Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by the tragic incident in Ethiopia on Sunday.
“The UK Civil Aviation Authority has been closely monitoring the situation, however, as we do not currently have sufficient information from the flight data recorder we have, as a precautionary measure, issued instructions to stop any commercial passenger flights from any operator arriving, departing or overflying UK airspace.
“The UK Civil Aviation Authority’s safety directive will be in place until further notice.
“We remain in close contact with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and industry regulators globally.”
In Europe, Tui currently operates 15 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, Norwegian 18 (16 owned and two leased) and Icelandair three. Ryanair has 135 of Boeing’s forthcoming 737 MAX 200 variant on order.
A Tui spokesperson said: Tui Airways can confirm that all 737 MAX 8 aircraft currently operating in the UK have been grounded following the decision from the UK regulatory authorities today.
"Any customers due to fly home today on a 737 MAX 8 from their holiday will be flown back on another aircraft. Customers due to travel in the coming days will also travel on holiday as planned on other aircraft.
"The safety and wellbeing of our customers and staff has remained our primary concern."
Norwegian said it would suspend MAX 737 operations "until further notice". "We remain in close dialogue with the aviation authorities and Boeing, and follow their instructions and recommendations," said the airline in a statement.
"We would like to apologise to customers who will be affected by temporary cancellations and delays, but the safety and security of our customers and colleagues will never be compromised, and once authorities advise to cease operations we will of course comply.
Tomas Hesthammer, Norwegian’s acting chief operating officer, added:: “In response to the temporary suspension of Being 737 MAX operations by multiple aviation authorities, we have taken the decision to not operate flights using this aircraft type, until advised otherwise by the relevant aviation authorities.
"We would like to apologise to customers for any inconvenience caused, however, safety will always remain our top priority.”
Boeing insists its 737 MAX 8 is safe, despite the Ethiopian Airlines crash being the second involving the aircraft since it entered service in May 2017.
Last October, Lion Air flight LT 610 plunged into the Java Sea shortly after taking off from Indonesian capital Jakarta last October.
The crash was the first major catastrophe involving a 737 MAX 8 aircraft. Initial investigations suggest a new anti-stall system forced the aircraft’s nose down with the pilots unable to override it.
There has been no suggestion at this stage a similar fate befell Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 302.