All Boeing 737 Max 8 aeroplanes have now been banned from UK airspace by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) after an Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed on Sunday. The plane crashed in Ethiopia just six minutes after take-off killing 149 passengers and eight crew members. Britain joined China, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and other countries in banning the 737 MAX planes.
There are five 737 Max 8 aircraft operated by UK-based airline Tui Airways who were due to introduce a sixth later this week.
The European Union’s Aviation Safety Agency also announced it was suspending all flights by Boeing’s 737-8 and 737-9 planes.
The agency said: “EASA has decided to suspend all flight operations of the two affected models.”
The market value of Boeing has now dropped by more than $25million in the last two days.
The company had been one of the best performing stocks so far this year on the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Boeing shares have delivered a total return – including reinvested dividends – of nearly four times the performance of the full index since US stocks began rebounding from the 2007-09 financial crisis.
The stock fell seven percent to $372 by midday on Tuesday, adding to a five percent decline on Monday. The losses set the stock for its biggest two-day percentage drop since June 2009.
Southwest Airlines Co and American Airlines Group Inc, which analysts said were among the US airlines most exposed to the Boeing aircraft model at issue, saw their shares fall more than two percent.
DZ Bank became the first brokerage in nearly two years to place a “sell” rating on the stock, while setting a price target of $333 – the lowest on Wall Street.
The single-aisle 737 is the world’s most-sold commercial aircraft and is central to Boeing’s future.
The MAX line is the fastest-selling jetliner in the company’s history with more than 5,000 orders booked and a backlog valued at nearly $500billion at list prices.
Boeing defended its aircraft and said it has “full confidence in the safety of the Max”.
The United States said the design changes will be implemented by April but insisted the plane was airworthy and did not need to be grounded.
Safety experts say it is too early to speculate on what caused Sunday’s crash and that black box recorders had not yet provided information on what happened.
In a statement, the UK CAA said: “The UK Civil Aviation Authority has been closely monitoring the situation, however, as we do not currently have sufficient information from the flight data recorder we have, as a precautionary measure, issued instructions to stop any commercial passenger flights from any operator arriving, departing or overflying UK airspace.
“The UK Civil Aviation Authority’s safety directive will be in place until further notice.”
TUI Airlines said any customers due to fly home today on a 737 MAX 8 will now travel on another aircraft.