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Middle East aviation agencies suspend Boeing 737 MAX jets after deadly Ethiopia crash

Kuwait, UAE, Oman and Turkey temporarily ban planes after Ethiopia Airlines crash killed 157 people on Sunday
Two Boeing 737 MAX-8 planes have crashed in the past five months (Reuters/File photo)

Several civil aviation regulators and airlines in the Middle East have temporarily suspended the use of a Boeing 737 jet after an Ethiopia Airlines crash killed all 157 people on board this weekend.

On Tuesday, Kuwait's civil aviation directorate said the Boeing 737 MAX-8 planes were "suspended until further notice", the country's Kuna news agency reported.

The United Arab Emirates passed a similar measure, banning operations of the jet in the country's airspace, Reuters reported, citing the state-run WAM news agency.

The UAE's civil aviation authority said the move was precautionary and that it would "continue monitoring and re-assessing the situation as more information is obtained about the accident".

Flydubai is the only Emirati airline that uses the MAX 8 plane, Reuters said.

Dozens of countries have suspended the planes as investigations into the cause of the Ethiopia Airlines crash continue.

The Nairobi-bound plane went down shortly after taking off from the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Sunday, killing all 157 passengers and crew members on board.

It's the second crash involving the plane in the past five months. 

In October, an Indonesian Lion Air jet crashed, killing 189 passengers and crew - and some officials have detected similarities between the two accidents, AFP reported.

Oman Air also suspended the planes from its fleet on Tuesday, after Oman's civil aviation agency ordered a ban on their operation into and out of the country's airports, Oman News Agency reported.

Also on Tuesday, Turkish Airlines said it planned to ground all 737 MAX planes starting on 13 March "until their operational safety is ensured", Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah said.

Turkey's ministry of transport and infrastructure also suspended all 737 MAX-8 and MAX-9 flights until further notice, the newspaper reported.

More than 370 of the 737 MAX-8 planes are currently in service around the world, AFP said, while nearly 5,000 are on order.