New Zealand bans Boeing 737 MAX flights

Boeing is struggling to cope with the fallout from two deadly crashes that have cast a spotlight on the safety certification process and shaken confidence in its 737 Max 8 model that is crucial to its future plans (AFP Photo/Jason Redmond) (AFP/File)

New Zealand's aviation watchdog joined counterparts worldwide on Wednesday in banning Boeing 737 MAX aircraft from its airspace in the wake of a deadly plane crash in Ethiopia.

New Zealand's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said it was imposing the temporary suspension after consultation with other regulators.

"The CAA's assessment has taken into consideration the level of uncertainty regarding the cause of the recent Ethiopian Airlines accident plus its review of the aircraft design," the CAA said in a statement.

The regulator said only one airline, Fiji Airways, flew the 737 MAX to New Zealand.

Flag carrier Air New Zealand does not have any of the aircraft in its fleet.

On Sunday, a new Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 went down minutes into a flight to Nairobi, killing all 157 people on board.

The crash came after a Lion Air jet of the same model went down in Indonesia in October, claiming 189 lives.