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Europe bans Boeing 737 MAX: Planes grounded, diverted as nations shut airspace over Ethiopia crash

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An Israeli-bound Norwegian Airlines plane has been forced to return to Stockholm, as the troubled Boeing 737 MAX jets are being diverted in Europe as nations shut their airspace one by one over the deadly crash in Ethiopia

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on Tuesday announced an EU-wide airspace ban on the aircraft in order to “ensure the safety of passengers.” At the same time, they made clear it was too early to draw conclusions on the cause of the crash.

The ban follows an avalanche of bans and suspensions from European countries and carriers.

As announcements of the suspensions started to come in, several planes were forced to turn around mid-flight.

Data from tracker website Flightradar24 shows that Norwegian flight DY4545 got as far as Romania before the plane was diverted back to Stockholm Arlanda Airport. The U-turn coincided with an announcement by Norwegian Airlines that it was suspending all Boeing 737 MAX 8 flights in light of the Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday – the second disaster involving the new Boeing jet in the last six months.

On Tuesday, Austria, Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, UK, Singapore, Malaysia, Norway, Belgium, Oman, Indonesia, Poland and the Netherlands announced they would be suspending all flights involving the Boeing aircraft, joining several other nations and airlines that announced bans the day before. At least 27 airlines have now grounded the Max 8.

However, in the US, despite several politicians calling on the FAA to ground the aircrafts, the aerospace organization has maintained they are safe to fly and declined to take any action.