Oman said Tuesday it was “temporarily suspending” all flights by Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in the sultanate following the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jetliner, becoming the first nation on the Arabian Peninsula to ground the planes.
The decision by Oman came as the neighboring United Arab Emirates said it had joined U.S. authorities and Boeing Co. “to investigate and collect data” to help solve what happened in Sunday’s crash in Ethiopia that killed all 157 people on board.
Oman’s Public Authority for Civil Aviation made the announcement, without elaborating on its reasoning.
The state-owned Oman Air, which operates five Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, said flights operated by those planes “will be suspended as soon as possible.”
“We are in the process of making the necessary rescheduling and will advise our guests of any flight cancellations,” the airline said.
Oman, ruled by Sultan Qaboos bin Said for nearly 40 years, sits on the eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula.
Since the crash Sunday, regulators across the world have begun grounding the aircraft as an investigation into the disaster’s cause continues.
Meanwhile, the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority made the announcement it would join the ongoing investigation into the crash via the Emirates’ state-run WAM news agency. It said it was in touch with authorities in China and elsewhere as well.
“The GCAA will not be reluctant to ground the UAE-registered Boeing 737 MAX fleet, if required, to ensure the highest standards of aviation safety is achieved,” it said.
The 737 MAX is the workhorse of the Dubai government-owned budget carrier FlyDubai. It operates 11 Boeing 737 Max-8 jetliners, including on routes to Oman.
Earlier on Tuesday, FlyDubai said that “no further action is required at this time” over the aircraft. After Oman’s decision to stop Boeing 737 MAX flights, the airline said it “will operate our flights to Oman according to these directives,” meaning it will use other aircraft.