New Zealand's aviation safety authority isn't taking any action on Boeing 737Max 8 aircraft in spite of other regulators and a rising number of airlines around the world grounding the planes following the Ethiopian Airlines crash.
The Civil Aviation Authority says it is satisfied with the steps the only operator of the plane to this country, Fiji Airways, has taken to ensure safety.
''The CAA is not planning any action at this time to restrict the operation of Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft to New Zealand,'' a spokesman said.
''We will continue to closely monitor the progress of the safety investigation of the recent Ethiopian Airlines accident to determine if there are facts or contributing factors which would cause us to review our position.''
The authority would continue to liaise with other international authorities to ensure an "informed response was taken should the situation change".
The number of airlines grounding the plane is growing.
Brazil's Gol Airlines is this afternoon (NZT) suspending the use of its Boeing MAX 8 aircraft even though it had made nearly 3000 flights with "total security and efficiency" since starting service last June.
Mexican airline Aeromexico says it is suspending flights with its six Max 8 jets. The company says it trusts "fully" in the safety of its fleet but adds that the grounding has been ordered to ensure "the safety of its operations and the peace of mind of its customers."
Chinese and Indonesian aviation authorities have ordered the grounding of MAX 8s and Cayman Airways and Ethiopian Airways have chosen to park their planes following the crash on Sunday, killing all 157 passengers and crew on board.
There are about 350 of the aircraft in operation and the crash was the second one in six months of the Max 8. The first was a Lion Air plane in Indonesia which raised the possibility of anti-stall software being erroneously activated by incorrect flight data.
China's Civil Aviation Administration said in a statement it would notify airlines as to when they could resume flying the jets after contacting Boeing and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ensure flight safety.
"Given that two accidents both involved newly delivered Boeing 737-8 planes and happened during take-off phase, they have some degree of similarity," the administration has said.
Boeing issued new pilot guidelines after the Lion Air crash and Fiji Airways said like with all its aircraft, it had followed a comprehensive induction and training process for the new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft.
''Our Boeing 737 pilots and cabin crew receive extensive training, above the mandated level set for the MAX 8 by the manufacturer. This includes ongoing simulator training into aircraft differences and identified scenarios. As such, we have full confidence in the airworthiness of our entire fleet,'' said a spokesman.
The airline uses MAXs on the Nadi-Wellington route.
North American airlines are the biggest operators of MAX 8s, the latest model of the 737 which has been a reliable workhorse of many carriers for the past 50 years.
Air New Zealand used to have 737s but has switched to Airbus A320s and A321s for its domestic jet and short haul international operations. Jetstar also uses A320s here and Qantas uses earlier model 737s across the Tasman.
Virgin Australia also uses earlier model 737s but has 40 Max planes on order.
An airline spokeswoman said it was closely watching the situation and monitoring any updates from Boeing and the investigating authorities.
''There are currently no Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft in our fleet and it is too early for us to make comment on our order. With our first aircraft delivery not due until November this year, we believe there is sufficient time to consider the outcome of the investigation and make an assessment,'' she told the Herald this afternoon.
Virgin Australia would continue to work with Boeing and the relevant authorities as more information becomes available.
The US Federal Aviation Administration says it expects Boeing will soon complete improvements to an automated anti-stall system that is suspected of contributing to a Lion Air crash last October.
The FAA said that Boeing will also update training requirements and flight crew manuals related to the system.The system automatically points the plane's nose down if sensors indicate the plane could be in danger of losing lift, or stalling. Sensors on the plane operated by Indonesia's Lion Air gave out faulty readings on its last four flights, the Associated Press reports.
On the fatal October flight, pilots apparently struggled in vain to fight against the automated nose-down commands.
The FAA tried to discourage comparisons between the Lion Air crash and Sunday's deadly crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max 8. Both performed erratically shortly after takeoff, then went into nosedives.
Weather did not appear to be a factor in either one.
"External reports are drawing similarities between (the Ethiopian) accident and the Lion Air Flight 610 accident," the FAA said.
"However, this investigation has just begun and to date we have not been provided data to draw any conclusions or take any actions."
Additional reporting AP