Sunwing grounds Boeing 737 Max 8 jets after Ethiopian Airlines crash
Air Canada and WestJet may be adamant in their support of the increasingly controversial Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, but Sunwing won't be taking any chances.
The Etobicoke-based discount airline, known for serving free bubbly aboard its frequent flights to the Caribbean, announced on Tuesday night that it has decided to "temporarily suspend" the operations of all four Max 8 jets within its fleet.
"The FAA has issued a statement of continued air-worthiness of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 and we have confidence in the investigative process as well as the handling of this matter by Transport Canada and the other Canadian operators of the Max 8," said Sunwing Airlines in a statement released shortly before 11 p.m. on Tuesday.
That said, the airline is willing to ground all of its Max 8s "for evolving commercial reasons unrelated to safety, including airspace restrictions being imposed by some of our partner destinations."
At least 40 countries from around the world, including the entire European Union and China, have now temporarily banned this particular model of plane from entering their airspace in the wake of a crash that killed 157 people in Ethiopia on Sunday.
The Ethiopian Airlines crash was the second tragedy involving a Boeing 737 Max 8 jet in just five months. In October, a Lion Air flight using the same popular Boeing model went down similarly within moments of taking off from the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, killing 189.
Canadian and American travellers have been pressuring North America's largest carriers and air transport authorities to suspend their operations of the Max 8 until more is known about what happened in Ethiopia on Sunday.
Please ground the 737 Max, we should not put any more Canadians at risk.— peggy cd🇨🇦☘ (@56peggy) March 12, 2019
Yet, unlike hundreds of other airlines around the world, Air Canada and West Jet both refuse. The same goes for Southwest Airlines and American Airlines.
Coincidentally (or not), American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Air Canada boast more Max 8s in their respective fleets than any other carriers across the globe.
Air Canada did announce on Tuesday afternoon that it had cancelled some flights bound for London, England on Tuesday and Wednesday, but only due to the U.K.'s civil aviation authority banning all Boeing 737s from their airspace.
Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau, who on Monday said that he himself would board such a plane without hesitation, is set to address the issue formally in a press conference later today.
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