China's aviation regulator today grounded nearly 100 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft operated by its airlines, more than a quarter of the global fleet of the jets.
This comes after a deadly crash of one of the planes in Ethiopia yesterday.
An Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 bound for Nairobi crashed minutes after take-off yesterday, killing all 157 people onboard and prompting the carrier to ground the rest of its fleet of the jets.
It was the second crash of the 737 MAX 8, the latest version of Boeing's workhorse narrowbody jet that first entered servicein 2017.
In October, a 737 MAX 8 operated by Indonesian budgetcarrier Lion Air crashed 13 minutes after take-off from Jakarta on a domestic flight, killing all 189 passengers and crew onboard.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said all Chinese airlines had to suspend their use of the 737 MAX 8 10m.
The aircraft is the latest version of Boeing's workhorse narrowbody that entered service in 2017.
The CAAC said it would notify airlines as to when they could resume flying the jets after contacting Boeing and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ensure flight safety.
"Given that two accidents both involved newly delivered Boeing 737-8 planes and happened during take-off phase, they have some degree of similarity," the CAAC said.
A Boeing spokesman declined to comment.
Chinese airlines have 96 737 MAX 8 jets in service, the state company regulator said, including Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Hainan Airlines.
Chinese aviation data firm Variflight said at least 29 international and domestic flights today had been cancelled and that airlines had swapped out the plane on 256 other flights that had been scheduled to use it.
The cause of the Indonesian crash is still being investigated.
A preliminary report in November, before the cockpit voice recorder was recovered, focused on airline maintenance and training and the response of a Boeing anti-stall system to a recently replaced sensor but did not give a reason for the crash.
Ethiopian Airlines said it had grounded its 737 MAX 8 fleet until further notice as an "extra safety precaution" even though it did not know the cause of the crash.
Cayman Airways also said it had grounded both of its new 737 MAX 8 jets until it got more information.
But no other airlines or regulators said they were grounding the aircraft.
By the end of January, Boeing had delivered 350 of the 737 MAX family jets to customers, with another 4,661 on order.