New Zealand's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has suspended Boeing 737 MAX aircraft from entering or leaving the country.
In a statement, CAA director of civil aviation, Graeme Harris, said, "Because of the very low utilisation of this type of aircraft on flights into and out of NZ - for example the next scheduled flight by the type is not until tomorrow afternoon - the CAA has had time to thoroughly review concerns about the B737 MAX series aircraft following the tragic accidents involving the type in Indonesian and Ethiopia".
"The decision to suspend operations by the aircraft follows recent discussions with other aviation authorities, including the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) which have responsibility for oversight of the design of the aircraft. 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.
"This is a temporary suspension while we continue to monitor the situation closely and analyse information as it comes to hand to determine the safety risks of continued operation of the Boeing 737 MAX to and from New Zealand."
The CAA "regrets any inconvenience" to passengers on Fiji Airways flights in and out of the country.
Fiji Airways released a joint statement with the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji shortly after the announcement saying it will ground its 737 Max planes.
"In line with the stance taken by aviation regulators in our region, and an increasing number of operators worldwide, Fiji Airways, together with the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji, has taken the decision to temporarily ground its fleet of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft until more information is known about the cause of the Ethiopian Airlines accident.
"We would like to stress that Fiji Airways, together with the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji, continue to have full confidence in the airworthiness of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, and in the skilled and experienced Fiji Airways pilots and engineers who operate them."
Fiji Airways also explained how it will be replacing the planes to keep passengers on the move.
"Fiji Airways will use its existing Boeing 737 NG aircraft as well its Airbus A330 fleet to replace flights which were to be operated by the MAX 8s.
"Some flight times may be impacted as a result, and all affected customers will be notified of any change in their flight schedules."