The US has added itself to the list of countries grounding the Boeing 737 Max fleet of aircraft. This follows the crash on Sunday which killed all passengers and crew on board an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max, minutes after takeoff from the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Less than five months prior, another Boeing 737 plane carried by Lion Air crashed in Indonesia shortly after takeoff, also killing all on board. Following the latest disaster on the Ethiopian Airlines flight, Lion Air has said it will be cancelling a $22 billion order of Boeing 737s.

It will instead look at ordering from Airbus.

Donald Trump announced the grounding on Wednesday, citing the safety of Americans and other flyers. He announced in a press conference at the White House that, “Planes that are in the air will be grounded if they are the 737 Max. Will be grounded upon landing at their destination.” This comes after a four-day delay following the crash. “The safety of the American people and all people is our paramount concern,” he emphasised.

MCAS system a possible link to both disasters

American and Canadian aviation officials have cited new evidence of a faulty automated system which stops planes stalling in the air. This technology, known as MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System), is a particular feature of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft.

It is designed to aid pilots in making up for movements in engine realignment and is suspected of being the fault that caused both crashes. Investigations are still in preliminary stages and more details are expected to follow in the coming weeks.

The United States Federal Aviation Administration has also cited new evidence of similarities between the crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia.

They stated that "The grounding will remain in effect pending further investigation, including examination of information from the aircraft's flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders."

More countries grounding the 737 Max

In the meantime, the European Union as a whole has suspended all operations of the specific aircraft.

This follows the UK, France, Austria, Germany, and Ireland issuing their own bans. Other countries, including Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, India, and South Korea have also grounded the aircraft pending investigation.

Analysts have suggested that the overall disruption to global travel will be minimal, at least in the short term. "We are talking about just 1% of global flights planned for the aircraft this week," said John Grant of the OAG, an air travel intelligence company. The Boeing 737 Max 8 is mainly used for domestic and short-haul trips.