Canada bans Boeing 737 Max 8s from its airspace
Amidst mounting pressure to ban the type of airplane involved in Sunday's fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash, federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau has announced restrictions on the use of Boeing 737 jets in Canada.
"This safety notice restricts commercial passenger flights from any air operator, both domestic and foreign, of the Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 aircraft from arriving, departing, or overflying Canadian airspace," said Garneau during a press conference late Wednesday morning.
"This safety notice is effective immediately, and will remain in place until further notice," he continued. "What the notice is saying is that there can't be any Max 8 or Max 9 aircraft flying into, out of or across Canada."
Garneau, who yesterday maintained that the Max 8 was a safe plane despite its involvement in two deadly crashes over the past five months, says his decision was prompted by new data received this morning.
After analyzing this satellite tracking data, Garneau's Civil Aviation Expert Panel is said to have found "some similarities" between Sunday's ill-fated flight out of Ethiopia and a Lion Air flight that crashed into the Java Sea on October 29.
The recent Ethiopian Airlines crash killed all 157 people aboard the plane— 18 of whom were Canadian— just minutes after taking off. The October crash also killed all 189 passengers and crew aboard the Lion Air flight in Indonesia after 12 minutes in the air.
The government of Canada grounds the Boeing 737 MAX 8. There are currently 47 of these aircraft airborne over North America including 7 WestJet and Canada MAX 8’s flying in Canadian airspace. Once they land they won’t be allowed to take off again. pic.twitter.com/OEIuf17Sa5— Richard Southern (@richard680news) March 13, 2019
Canada joins dozens of other countries worldwide in closing its airspace to Boeing 737 aircrafts, including China, Australia, Iraq, Singapore, Malaysia, Oman, The United Arab Emirates, the entire European Union and all of The U.K.
Previous to Garneau's announcement, travellers with flights booked via Air Canada and WestJet had been asking the airlines to take their Max 8s out of commission.
Both major airlines, which have some of the highest numbers of Boeing 737 Max 8s in their fleets worldwide, refused on the grounds that they were still confident in the performance on their planes.
Sunwing grounded the four Max 8s it owns late Tuesday night "for evolving commercial reasons unrelated to safety, including airspace restrictions being imposed by some of our partner destinations."
The three major airlines in Canada: Air Canada, Westjet and Sunwing, did not give Garneau's office any pushback on their decision. "They understand the importance of safety," Garneau continued. #cdnpoli #EthiopianAirlinesCrash— Anna Desmarais (@anna_desmarais) March 13, 2019
Only two major airlines continue to fly Boeing 737 Max 8 jets, according to the New York Times: Southwest Airlines and American Airlines. Both U.S. carriers own a substantial amount of Max 8s with 34 and 24 in their fleets, respectively.
Air Canada also owns 24, though it will no longer be able to fly them in or out of the country.
"Canada has an enviable aviation safety record because of the professionalism and safety-first focus of Canada's aviation industry," said Garneau in a statement following his announcement.
"My departmental officials continue to monitor the situation and I will not hesitate to take swift action, should we discover any additional safety issues."
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