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Canadian airline shares hit by Boeing 737 crash as anxiety grows over safety

Canadian airline shares hit by Boeing 737 crash as anxiety grows over safety
Business
MONTREAL - Share prices for Canada’s two largest airlines have been hit by the growing worries over the 737 Max 8 aircraft, which is facing bans from an increasing number of countries over possible safety issues.

Air Canada and WestJet Airlines Ltd. saw their stocks decline about 3.4 per cent and 2.5 per cent respectively between Friday closing and Tuesday morning trading in the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines disaster that killed all 157 people on board on Sunday.

More than 40 countries have grounded or banned the Max 8 from their airspace since the crash over safety concerns and possible parallels to an Oct. 29 incident which saw the same type of aircraft plunge into the Java Sea, killing 189 people.

Boeing Co., which makes the 737 Max 8, has seen its share price drop by more than 11 per cent — a loss of more than US$26.6 billion.

Air Canada has 24 Max 8s in its fleet and WestJet has 13, most of which fly to destinations within North America and remain largely unaffected by the suspensions. Aviation authorities in the U.S. have expressed continued confidence in the aircraft, despite mandating a software update following the crash.

As questions grow around the plane’s safety, Boeing rival Airbus SE has seen its stock rise 4.5 per cent to €$116.30.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau is expected to clarify Ottawa’s position today on the Max 8 aircraft, as Canada continues to fly the planes that have been grounded by dozens of other countries.
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