As investigators urgently seek to understand why the Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 crashed, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has joined Australia, Singapore, China, Indonesia and Malaysia in banning the jet.
A spokesperson for the CAA said: “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.
“We remain in close contact with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and industry regulators globally.”
All 157 passengers and crew aboard the Boeing 737 Max 8 were killed when it crashed shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa, on a routine flight to Nairobi.
TUI Airways has five of the aircraft based in the UK, mainly in Manchester, and uses them on a wide range of longer European and north African links – recent destinations including Funchal in Madeira, Paphos in Cyprus, and Agadir and Marrakech in Morocco.
The other leading operator of the aircraft type from the UK is Norwegian, which has 18 of the variant and another on order. Research by The Independent on flights over the past week show that Gatwick-Helsinki is the most frequent UK service using the jet, but London and Edinburgh to Oslo and Edinburgh to New York (Stewart) are also popular.
The jet is also used for transatlantic services from Dublin.
In addition, some foreign airlines operate services to the UK using the Max 8, including Turkish Airlines from Istanbul to Birmingham and back.