Australia and Singapore bar Boeing 737 MAX Airliners

Fiji Airways and Silk Air are the two airlines affected by Australia's temporary ban on Boeing 737 MAX flights. (Photo: Boeing)

The aviation authorities of Australia and Singapore have temporarily banned all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft from flying to and from their respective countries as they await clarification regarding any possible safety risks.

The move comes after an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed on March 10 killing all 137 people on board. It was the second fatal accident involving the 737 MAX variant in five months, and type only entered commercial service in 2017.

No Australian carriers operate the 737 MAX, and only two airlines, SilkAir of Singapore – and Fiji Airways – fly the MAX to Australia.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said its decision would affect SilkAir, which has six 737 MAX 8 aircraft, as well as those of Garuda Indonesia and Thai Lion Air. China Southern Airlines and Shandong Airlines also fly to Singapore, but the Chinese Civil Aviation Authority had already suspended 737 MAX operations in China a day earlier. South Korea’s Office of Civil Aviation has instructed Eastar Jet to ground its MAX 8s from March 13.

Boeing has so far delivered 350 of the 5,000+ 737 MAX airliners it has received orders for.