The map that forced Trump’s hand
JUST 24 hours ago, the US and Canada were isolated from the rest of the world.
Despite almost half the world banning Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes from their airspace, North America refused to follow suit.
America's Federal Aviation Administration had called for calm, stating they supported local US and Canadian airlines who continued to fly the aircraft, despite the raft of countries implementing temporary bans on the model.
The global reaction followed the deadly crash involving an Ethiopian Airlines flight which crashed in clear weather six minutes after taking off for Nairobi. All 157 passengers and crew on board were killed.
The aircraft was the same model as a Lion Air MAX 8 flight that went down in October 2018 just 13 minutes after taking off in Indonesia, leaving no survivors.
While investigations into the cause of both accidents continue, the global reaction has been significant - and costly - with experts comparing the two incidents as sharing "certain similarities".
On Wednesday, New Zealand became one of the latest destinations of more than a dozen to join the worldwide suspension of MAX 8s following the two crashes in less than six months.
New Zealand's Civil Aviation Authority said on Wednesday morning that the MAX 8 model was not allowed to operate to or from the country.
"Currently this affects only one operator, Fiji Airways. There are no other airlines that fly this aircraft type to New Zealand," the statement said.
On Tuesday, Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority said that it was temporarily suspending operation of the planes while investigations into the cause of the accident continue. Later that evening, Britain joined the growing number of countries - including China, Indonesia, Argentina and the European Union - grounding the new Boeing plane.
But until today, the United States and Canada continued to fly a substantial number of the MAX 8 models with local carriers Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, United Airlines, Air Canada and others.
A map released by FlightRadar24 on Wednesday showed a number of these MAX 8s flying around North America and in to Canada, while the rest of the world was clear of the aircraft.
When you compare that map to the rest of the world it clearly showed how isolated the US was.
It was clear the US would be forced to take action.
That was until US President Donald Trump stepped in late Wednesday US time (Thursday Australia time), and enforced an executive order to ground Boeing MAX 8s in the US.
Within hours, Boeing announced they would ground its entire global 737 MAX aircraft fleet in response to the Ethiopian Airlines tragedy at the weekend.
As reports surfaced of American pilots who expressed concerns about the plane late last year, President Trump said the "new information" that had come to light in the ongoing investigation into both crashes pushed him to follow the world and issue a ban on the MAX 8.
Trump said the decision to ground the aircraft "didn't have to be made, but we thought it was the right decision".
While a raft of nations around the world had grounded the aircraft earlier this week, America's Federal Aviation Administration had said that it didn't have any data to show the jets are unsafe.
But following Trump's decision to ground Boeing MAX aircraft operated by US airlines or in US territory came, the FAA released a statement acknowledging the decision made by the President.
"The grounding will remain in effect pending further investigation, including examination of information from the aircraft's flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders," the statement said.
"An FAA team is in Ethiopia assisting the NTSB (US National Transportation Safety Board) as parties to the investigation of the flight 302 accident. The agency will continue to investigate."
Earlier this week, the FAA supported the decision of US and Canadian airline carriers to continue flying, stating they had confidence in the 737 MAX 8 aircraft and it was still "airworthy". The FAA didn't support grounding aircraft at this stage, despite global reaction.
"The FAA continues to review extensively all available data and aggregate safety performance from operators and pilots of the Boeing 737 MAX," an FAA statement read.
"Thus far, our review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding of the aircraft. Nor have other civil aviation authorities provided data to us that would warrant action.
"In the course of our urgent review of data on the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash, if any issues affecting the continued airworthiness of the aircraft are identified, the FAA will take immediate and appropriate action."
According to CNN, the fallout caused Boeing stock to drop by 8 per cent on Monday, with investors voicing concerns about the 737 and Boeing's future in China.
While there has been no evidence to link the Ethiopian Airlines crash at the weekend, and the Lion Air crash in Indonesia less than six months prior, the similarities have prompted some airlines to take extra safety precautions during the investigation process.
In a statement released by the Chinese aviation administration following their grounding, a spokesman said both incidents share "certain similarities".
"Given in both air crashes, the aircraft were newly delivered Boeing 737 Max 8, and both accidents occurred during the takeoff, they share certain similarities," the statement read.
Speaking to news.com.au on Monday, Australian aviation expect Neil Hansford said he had great concerns about the aircraft model, and that this latest incident spells big problems for Boeing.
"I wouldn't fly on these planes," he said after the Ethiopian Airlines crash.
CNN's aviation expert and the former general of the US Transportation Department said the nature of both plane crashes was "highly suspicious".
"Here we have a brand-new aircraft that's gone down twice in a year. That rings alarm bells in the aviation industry because that just doesn't happen."
The chief executive of Ethiopian Airlines, Tewolde GebreMariam, said that while the cause of both crashes was yet unknown, the similarities were "substantial".
"They're both the same aeroplane model, brand new aeroplanes, and also the flights were very short," he said.
"The fact that many other countries are also now raising cautions on the aeroplane shows there is very significant similarities (between) the two accidents.
"There are a lot of questions to be answered on the aeroplane."
The fallout for Boeing, following the Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday and the Lion Air downing is massive.
In particular, analysts say the decision to ground flights in China is particularly damaging - as the Asian superpower is tipped to soon be the world's first trillion-dollar market for jets.
"A suspension in China is very significant, as this is a major market for Boeing," aviation research firm FlightGlobal's Asia managing editor Greg Waldron told CNN.
But the decision to ground planes in China couldn't have come at a worse time for Boeing as it dukes it out with Airbus and Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, or Comac, to be the major player in the rapidly-growing Chinese market.
Boeing said in a statement shortly after the crash it was "deeply saddened" by the incident.
"We understand that regulatory agencies and customers have made decisions that they believe are most appropriate for their home markets. We'll continue to engage with all of them to ensure they have the information they need to have confidence in operating their fleets or returning them to service," it said at the time.
According to estimates from Wall Street firms Melius Research and Jefferies, the cost of grounding all 737 MAX planes could be between $1 billion and $5 billion.