Much of the world, including the entire European Union, grounded the Boeing jetliner involved in the Ethiopian Airlines crash or banned it from their airspace, leaving the United States as one of the few remaining operators of the plane involved in two deadly accidents in five months.
The move is a major blow to Boeing, which has lost billions of dollars in value this week as nation after nation announced they were barring the aircraft from flying.
Acting FAA administrator Daniel Elwell said he did not know how long the USA grounding of the aircraft would last.
USA aircraft manufacturer Boeing has recommended that its entire global fleet of 737 MAX aircraft be grounded, after evidence collected from the scene of the fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash was made available to aviation authorities.
Both airlines said they would immediately comply with the FAA order.
Fresh information from the wreckage in Ethiopia and newly refined data about the plane's flight path indicated some similarities between the two disasters "that warrant further investigation of the possibility of a shared cause", the FAA said in a statement.
Southwest is arguably the US carrier most exposed to the event.
Trump is calling the decision to ground the Max 8 and 9's more precautionary than mandatory, but Powell understands the reasoning for erring on the side of caution.
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In the minutes before the Lion Air crash, the plane's angle-of-attack sensor malfunctioned, as reported by Bloomberg. "We didn't really have any problem with it", Rochelle Androwski said.
In a statement, the CAA said it had conducted a complete review of aircraft operating in the country after Monday's Ethiopian Airlines crash triggered global backlash for Boeing. But they managed to steady the plane after disconnecting the autopilot, said another report.
Around 75 737 MAX flights are operated daily, representing less than six per cent of Air Canada's approximately 1,600 daily flights.
An Australia-based frequent flyer, who asked not to be named, told Business Traveller Asia-Pacific that when he was taking a Garuda flight in Indonesia on Tuesday, "everyone was checking it wasn't a Max".
The grounding will be in effect until a further investigation can be conducted, including the examination of the aircraft's flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders.
They reported difficulties similar to those that contributed to the fatal Lion Air crash in Indonesia in October.
However, according to filings with the US Aviation Safety Reporting System, which pilots use to disclose information anonymously, it appeared to force the nose down.
In a statement, Brazilian air travel regulator ANAC said it made its decision after consulting with United States authorities, Boeing, and local carriers.
The Ethiopia Airlines and Lion Air flights both used 737 Max-8 aircraft.