Boeing (BOE, Washington National) has said it will not issue any further guidance to operators of B737 MAX aircraft despite mass groundings of the type over the past two days.

Both regulators and operators of the B737-8 and 9 have grounded their respective fleets given the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines B737 MAX 8, ET-AVJ (msn 62450), on Sunday, March 10, which killed all 158 passengers and crew onboard. The incident came just over four months after the crash of a Lion Air B737 MAX 8 which killed 189 onboard. Both accidents occurred shortly after take-off.

As of 1900Z on Wednesday, March 13, multiple countries have grounded all B737 MAX operations until further notice and/or banned the type from accessing their respective airspaces.

These include:

  • European Union including the United Kingdom, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland (as per an EASA Airworthiness Directive effective 1900Z, March 12);
  • China;
  • Australia;
  • Malaysia;
  • Kuwait;
  • Oman;
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE);
  • Hong Kong;
  • Equatorial Guinea;
  • Kazakhstan;
  • Kenya;
  • New Zealand;
  • Bahrain;
  • Lebanon;
  • Singapore;
  • India;
  • Vietnam;
  • Uzbekistan;
  • Egypt;
  • Kosovo;
  • Namibia;
  • Macau;
  • Albania;
  • Moldova;
  • Yemen;
  • Serbia;
  • Nigeria;
  • Jersey and Guernsey;
  • Canada;
  • Ukraine;
  • Cayman Islands;
  • Georgia;
  • Iraq;
  • Seychelles;
  • United States;
  • Panama;
  • Colombia;
  • Senegal;
  • Brunei;
  • Brazil;
  • Mexico;
  • Jamaica;
  • Costa Rica;
  • Chile;
  • Russia;
  • Rwanda;
  • Iran;
  • Tunisia;
  • Taiwan;
  • Korea (Republic of);
  • Japan;
  • Paraguay;
  • Guatemala;
  • Algeria;
  • Uruguay;
  • Turks & Caicos Islands;
  • Saudi Arabia.

Operators that have suspended B737 MAX operations thus far include:

At 1900Z (1500L) on Wednesday, March 13, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) formally grounded all US-based B737 MAX and barred the type from US territory.

According to a statement, the regulator said it had taken the decision after it had analyzed data and new evidence collected at ET-AVJ's crash site, near Addis Ababa International.

"This evidence, together with newly refined satellite data available to the FAA this morning, led to this decision," it said. "The grounding will remain in effect pending further investigation, including examination of information from the aircraft's flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders."

In its own statement, Boeing reaffirmed its confidence in the safety of the B737 MAX but that in the interests of caution and public safety, it had recommended to the FAA that the operations of all 371 active B737 MAX around the globe be suspended.

"We are supporting this proactive step out of an abundance of caution," Dennis Muilenburg, president, CEO, Chairman of The Boeing Company, said. "Safety is a core value at Boeing for as long as we have been building airplanes, and it always will be. There is no greater priority for our company and our industry. We are doing everything we can to understand the cause of the accidents in partnership with the investigators, deploy safety enhancements and help ensure this does not happen again."

On March 11, Boeing said that in the wake of the Lion Air disaster, it had been developing a flight control software enhancement for the B737 MAX to boost safety.

The package will include updates to the MAX's pilot displays, operation manuals and crew training procedures but above all its Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) flight control law. The enhanced flight control law will incorporate angle of attack (AOA) inputs, limits stabilizer trim commands in response to an erroneous angle of attack reading, and will also provide a limit to the stabilizer command in order to retain elevator authority.

Pending FAA certification, the new package is expected to roll out over the next few weeks.

"The FAA says it anticipates mandating this software enhancement with an Airworthiness Directive (AD) no later than April. We have worked with the FAA in development of this software enhancement," Boeing said.