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M'sia becomes the latest to suspend Boeing 737 MAX 8 flights

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Malaysia has become the latest country to join a growing list of civil aviation authorities suspending operations that involve the Boeing 737 MAX 8.

In a statement today, Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) CEO Ahmad Nizar Zolfakar noted that two of the planes were involved in fatal crashes in the span of just five months.

“For Malaysia, we clarify that none of the Malaysian carriers operate the Boeing 737 MAX 8.

“The CAAM, with immediate effect, is suspending the operations of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft flying to and from Malaysia, and transiting in Malaysia, until further notice,” he said.

Read more: Which local airlines have Boeing 737 MAX jets?

Earlier today, Reuters reported that Singapore suspended all Boeing 737 MAX flights – which affects all variants of the aircraft – following the Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 on Sunday.

The move will affect its own SilkAir, as well as China Southern Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Shandong Airlines and Thai Lion Air.

For the record, Boeing's website states that Malaysia Airlines has an outstanding order for 25 Boeing 737 MAX series planes as of January this year. 

However, it does not provide information on what variant had been ordered, but at least some are understood to be MAX 8 aircraft.

Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali had earlier stated that Khazanah Nasional Bhd would be instructed to review MAS' purchase of the aircraft.

Reuters also reported that said Argentina's flag carrier Aerolineas Argentinas and Mexican airline Aeromexico are also suspending operations of their Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft.

In addition, it said China's civil aviation regulator had ordered airlines in the country to suspend operations of the aircraft.

The Boeing 737 MAX 8 is the latest version of Boeing’s workhorse narrowbody jet, which first entered service in 2017.

Since then, aircraft of the type have been involved in two fatal accidents that killed all on board – A Lion Air jet that crashed after taking off from Jakarta in October last year, and the Ethiopian Airlines jet that crashed on Sunday.

Both crashes occurred soon after takeoff.

Despite these incidents, the US Federal Aviation Administration reportedly said that the aircraft is still airworthy and did not need to be grounded, though it would mandate design changes in April that had been in the works since the Lion Air crash.

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