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Automatic control systems such as MCAS try to solve this problem by pushing the nose of the aircraft down-putting the aircraft into a descent and increasing airspeed and relative airflow across the wings. It's possible that the fix could have prevented the crash of a similar aircraft in Ethiopia on March 10, 2019.

The interest has grown significantly since the second of two crashes involving the 737 Max 8.

The Boeing 737 has been a safe and stable workhorse of global airlines for more than 50 years.

Multiple nations, including the European Union, have suspended the 737 MAX, leading to the grounding of about two-thirds of the 371 jets of that make in operation around the world, according to Reuters calculations.

"Southwest operates a fleet of more than 750 Boeing 737s, and the 34 MAX 8 aircraft account for less than five percent of our daily flights".

Shares of the Seattle-based company, which were up earlier in the session, fell 2 per cent to $US370.48 ($522.15).

WestJet canceled one flight from Fort Lauderdale to Toronto - a decision that was made before the Federal Aviation Administration grounded the planes.

The groundings will have a far-reaching financial impact on Boeing, at least in the short term, said John Cox, a veteran pilot and CEO of Safety Operating Systems.

The FAA has a team investigating the disaster at the Ethiopian Airlines crash site working with the National Transportation Safety Board.

"It really didn't bother me", he told CNN.

"It would have been nice just to be aware of it, that this was the plane that was actually involved in the crash and that there's a software issue or whatever is wrong with it", he says. The U.S. FAA said the black boxes were headed to France later on Wednesday. Many countries, including the United Kingdom, have suspended the plane after Sunday's crash. Workers set up tents decorated with white roses.

Only charred fragments of victims remain, meaning it will take weeks to identify all of them using dental or DNA testing. The victims came from more than 30 nations, and included almost two dozen U.N. staff.

Trump's order also extended to another variant of the plane known as the Max 9.

"The agency made this decision as a result of the data gathering process and new evidence collected at the site and analysed today", the FAA said, shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump announced the planes would be grounded.

"The FAA continues to review extensively all available data and aggregate safety performance from operators and pilots of the Boeing 737 MAX", the agency said in a statement Tuesday.

"Trump said any plane now in the air will go to its destination and then be grounded, adding that pilots and airlines have been notified".

The U.S. was one of the last countries to ban the aircraft.

Southwest Airlines passengers were among those learning about the traveling news. In October, a Lion Air flight crashed into the Java Sea.

At least four United States pilots filed reports following the October crash of a Lion Air flight in Indonesia shortly after takeoff; and all complained the aircraft suddenly pitched downward, according to documents reviewed by AFP on a flight safety database. The shutdown of non-essential operations at the FAA caused work on the fix to be suspended for five weeks, according to unnamed United States officials cited by the Wall Street Journal.

The "safety notice" issued Wednesday targeting the aircraft - and a new version, the Max 9, which isn't as widely used - followed a cascade of countries banning the aircraft.

Canada's action followed confirmation that the pilot of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 reported internal control problems, while pilots in the US filed at least five complaints in recent months about the aircraft model.

In another case, the pilot said: "With the concerns with the MAX 8 nose down stuff, we thought it appropriate to bring it to your attention". "We see that when we have engine failures or decompression, the pilots are trained to commit to memory certain action items", he said.