The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has ordered the country’s airlines to suspend Boeing 737 MAX 8 commercial operations following Ethiopian Airlines, and previously Lion Air, crashes involving this type of aircraft.

On March 11, 2019, CAAC issued a notice, effective the same day, to suspend Boeing 737 MAX 8 operations. The authority claims the measure is taken in line with a principle of “zero tolerance for safety hazards and strict control of safety risks”, quoting two disasters in recent months, both involving this type of aircraft.

Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 302 crashed minutes after takeoff in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), on March 10, 2019, killing all 157 people onboard. Less than five months ago, on October 29, 2018, Lion Air Flight JT610 with 189 people on board crashed into the sea 13 minutes after taking off from the Jakarta Soekarno Hatta International Airport.

The authorities point out to fact that the two crashes have “certain” similarities, namely both accidents involved Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft that were newly delivered and crashes occurred in the take-off phase.

Although initially calling to refrain from premature speculation on possible accident causes, Ethiopian Airlines later, on March 10, also grounded its Boeing 737 MAX 8 fleet, as an “extra safety precaution”.

So far, Boeing has not yet addressed the groundings.