Trump says US grounding Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9

But it put "enormous pressure" on the FAA to reverse course, said Peter Goelz, a former managing director for the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board who now is an aviation consultant.

He said the new information indicated that the Ethiopian Airliner jet's automatic system kicked in to force the nose of the aircraft down after computer software determined it was too high.

Many nations had already barred the Boeing 737 Max 8 from its airspace, but until Trump's announcement, the Federal Aviation Administration had said that it didn't have any data to show the jets are unsafe.

Boeing shares fell 5 percent on Monday.

The new MAX 8 variant of the 737, the world's best-selling modern passenger aircraft, has bigger engines created to use less fuel.

The pilots said they were able to recover quickly following the aggressive dive by disconnecting the autopilot.

Boeing's 737 MAX is the newest version of a jet that has been a fixture of passenger travel for decades and the cash cow of the world's largest aircraft maker, competing against Airbus SE's A320neo family of single-aisle jetliners.

Even President Donald Trump weighed in, tweeting that additional "complexity creates danger" in modern aircraft and hinders pilots from making "split second decisions" to ensure passengers' safety.

Despite Canada's decision to ground Max 8s and 9s, WestJet said it "remains confident in the safety of its Boeing 737 fleet", but will comply with all of Transport Canada's instruction regarding the aircraft.

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The MAX 8 has new software that automatically pushes the plane's nose down if a stall is detected.

Kebebew Legess said she was the mother of a young Ethiopian Airlines crew member among the dead.

"Losing a brother and mother in the same day and not having their bodies to bury is very painful", he said in the Kenyan capital Nairobi where the plane had been due.

Earlier in the week, Garneau had suggested that grounding the jets would be a "premature" decision, taking a stance similar to the US' FAA which has still not taken any action against the American-made aircraft.

"Safety is a core value at Boeing for as long as we have been building airplanes; and it always will be", CEO Dan Muilenberg said.

The Chicago-based company is devoting more resources to the 737 programme, including customer support, Muilenburg said.

"We do have a few flight attendants who are indicating they are afraid to fly the 737 Max", said Lori Bassani, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents employees at American.

Foreign investigators examine wreckage at the scene where the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed shortly after takeoff. Including regional aircraft, American has more than 1,500 planes, while United has more than 1,300.

In November, two incidents were reported to the NASA-run Aviation Safety Reporting Database that involved problems in controlling the 737 MAX at low altitude just after take-off with autopilot engaged, according to documents first published by the Dallas Morning News and verified by Reuters. "I'm sure they'll look at it and see where we go from here", a man said.

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