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Costa Rica bans 737 Max 8 from its airspace

Costa Rica has joined more than 40 countries in temporarily banning Boeing’s 737 Max 8 aircraft, which was involved in two deadly crashes in less than six months, the Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC) announced Wednesday night.

According to DGAC, neither the 737 Max 8 nor the 737 Max 9 are permitted to operate in Costa Rican airspace until further notice.

“The General Director of Civil Aviation, Captain Guillermo Hoppe Pacheco, indicated that the decision is taken as a preventive measure, primarily for the safety of all passengers and crew, as a result of the recent accidents in which such aircraft were involved, whose causes are under investigation,” the statement from DGAC reads.

“The protection of human life is a priority, and until the circumstances of the accidents in which those airplane models have been involved are clarified, the measure will be maintained.”

Costa Rica’s decision came hours after the United States’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an emergency order grounding the two 737 Max models in U.S. airspace. The FAA’s announcement put the United States in line with the majority of other countries in which the 737 Max 8 and Max 9 operate.

Boeing said it “has determined […] to recommend to the FAA the temporary suspension of operations of the entire global fleet of 371 737 Max aircraft.”

“We are supporting this proactive step out of an abundance of caution,” the airplane manufacturer said in a statement.

Neither Avianca Costa Rica nor Volaris Costa Rica include 737-series airplanes in their fleets. However, Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, United Airlines and Aeromexico all operate the 737 Max 8 or Max 9 and fly to Costa Rica.

The 737 Max series was developed by Boeing to succeed the 737 Next Generation (NG) series of the popular narrow-body aircraft. The first 737 Max-series airplane was delivered in May 2017.

In October 2018, a 737 Max 8 operated by Lion Air crashed minutes after takeoff near Jakarta, Indonesia. On Sunday, an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max 8 crashed minutes after takeoff near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Both accidents remain under investigation.

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