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EU aviation agency grounds Boeing 737 Max

EU aviation agency grounds Boeing 737 Max
© Getty Images

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announced Tuesday a temporary ban on the use of Boeing Max 8 and Max 9 model aircrafts, following the lead of multiple countries and airlines that have grounded the planes in the wake of a second deadly crash within six months.

The EASA said in a news release that, as of 7 p.m. local time, the planes would be grounded in European Union airspace. The agency described the move as a "precautionary measure" amid an ongoing investigation into the cause of an Ethiopian Airlines crash over the weekend.

"EASA is continuously analysing the data as it becomes available," the agency said. "The accident investigation is currently ongoing, and it is too early to draw any conclusions as to the cause of the accident."

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The EU joined the United Kingdom, China, Australia, Indonesia and other countries in grounding the planes. More than 20 carriers did the same, including Norwegian Air, Cayman Airlines and Air China.

The Ethiopian Airlines Max 8 crash Saturday killed all 157 people on board. The same type of plane was involved in a Lion Air crash in Indonesia in October that killed 189 people.

The U.S. has yet to ground the Boeing 737 Max 8 planes, though several lawmakers urged the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to do so on Tuesday.

Sens. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneySenate GOP open to confirming Yellen to be Biden's Treasury secretary Overnight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases Bipartisan Senate group holding coronavirus relief talks amid stalemate MORE (R-Utah), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBiden budget pick sparks battle with GOP Senate Warren, Brown voice support for controversial Biden budget office pick Biden's economic team gets mixed reviews from Senate Republicans MORE (D-Mass.) were among those who expressed concerns about the reliability of the machines and encouraged the FAA to ground the aircraft pending an investigation.

The FAA said in a statement Monday that the planes are safe to fly,and that it will take appropriate action if it determines otherwise. The agency said Tuesday morning that it had no updated comment on the matter.

Boeing announced late Monday that it would upgrade software systems in the company's 737 Max 8 airliners after the Ethiopian Airlines crash, but has not indicated it will take further action.