US President Donald Trump said the country would issue an emergency order grounding all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people.
Many nations in the world, including Britain, had already barred the aircraft from its airspace.
But, until now, the American aviation regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration, had insisted it didn’t have any data to show the jets are unsafe.
But on Wednesday, Trump said the FAA would be making the announcement soon to ground the planes. He added that any plane currently in the air will go to its destination and then be grounded.
Trump said pilots and airlines have been notified, and that the safety of the American people is of “paramount concern”.
Latest figures from Boeing state 69 737 MAX jets have been delivered to three US airlines, American, United, and Southwest.
Britain’s decision grounded all of the MAX types, including the 8.
Boeing claimed in a statement that it supported the decision to ground the 737 MAX. It had earlier stated there was no evidence of a threat to safety.
A statement read: “We are supporting this proactive step out of an abundance of caution. 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.”
Boeing 737 MAX: Which airlines operate the plane?
Southwest Airlines, US – 31
American Airlines, US – 24
Air Canada, Canada – 23
Norwegian Air Shuttle, Norway – 18
China Southern Airlines, China – 16
Air China, China – 15
TUI Travel PLC, UK – 14
China Eastern Airlines, China – 14
Lion Air, Indonesia – 14
United Airlines, US – 14
flyDubai, UAE – 14
Turkish Airlines, Turkey – 12
WestJet Airlines, Canada – 12