Mexican civil aviation authorities are conducting a special inspection of the charter operator at the center of the May 18 accident in Havana, and have suspended the company's operation until further notice—the third such action in eight years against the carrier.

The Directorate General of Civil Aeronautics (DGAC) said it would conduct an "extraordinary verification" of Mexico City-based Global Aerolineas Damojh, or Global Air, and ground the carrier during the check. One of Global Air's Boeing 737-200s was flying for Cubana de Aviacion when it went down shortly after departing Jose Marti International Airport (HAV) last week.

The suspension is at least the third for Global Air, which went into business in 1990. In November 2010, a nose landing-gear failure prompted DGAC to shut the airline down for five weeks. In October 2013, a complaint from a pilot triggered another special inspection and resulted in one aircraft being grounded for nine weeks.

"The DGAC seeks to ensure maximum safety of air operations, not only by periodic checks, but also by making the necessary extraordinary visits, accompanied by the measures required to ensure that the findings of the verification are remedied," an agency statement explained.

DGAC said Global Air passed its last routine annual inspection, in November 2017.

The Global Air aircraft, operating as Cubana flight 972, was en route to Holguín, Cuba, with 107 passengers and six crewmembers when it went down moments after departing Havana. One passenger taken to a hospital died May 21, Cuba's Ministry of Public Health confirmed, increasing the number of fatalities to 111.

The leased aircraft had been flying for Cubana for about a month, Cuba Minister of Transport Adel Yzquierdo Rodríguez said. 

The aircraft's cockpit voice recorder was recovered May 19, Yzquierdo said. Investigators were still searching for the flight data recorder.

Sean Broderick, sean.broderick@aviationweek.com