Canada will ground the Boeing 737 MAX 8 after Ethiopian Airlines crash
|globalnews.ca 13 Mar 2019 at 09:10|
Canada is joining the growing swell of countries grounding Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 jets after a deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash over the weekend.
That crash marked the second catastrophic incident involving the model of airplane in six months and prompted a wave of countries to ground the fleets, including the U.K., China, Australia, Singapore, India, South Korea, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates and others.
The European Union also banned the jets from flying in European airspace.
Transport Minister Marc Garneau had maintained earlier this week that Canada would not ground the jets because the cause of the Ethiopian Air crash, which killed 157 people including 18 Canadians, is not yet clear.
He reversed that position on Wednesday.
Garneau told reporters gathered in Ottawa there have been no reports from pilots flying for Canadian airlines of encountering difficulty with the 737 MAX 8’s anti-stall system, which has come under heavy scrutiny after a preliminary report into a deadly crash in Indonesia last year showed the pilots had repeatedly fought that system before crashing.
But he added the that the decision to issue a safety notice banning the aircraft from taking off, landing or flying over Canadian airspace comes as a result of “new data” received by Canadian officials Wednesday morning that appear to show similarities between that crash and the one over the weekend.
“There can’t be any Max 8 or Max 9 flying into, out of or across Canada, so that obviously affects the Canadian Max 8s that are owned by Air Canada, West Jet and Sunwing that own aircraft but also have implications on airlines outside the country,” Garneau said.
Garneau said the new data was obtained via satellite monitoring Wednesday morning and shows similarities between the Ethiopian Airlines crash over the weekend and the Lion Air crash in October 2018, killing 189 people.
Those similarities “exceed a certain threshold in our minds,” Garneau said, and that the decision to ground the fleets comes as a direct result of that.
He added that Canadian officials notified the Americans on Wednesday morning and continue to work closely with the teams investigating the crash.
He also said there was no “push back” from any of the three Canadian airlines that operate the aircraft model.
“They recognize the importance of safety,” he said.
Garneau noted “there is some disruption” as a result of the decision on airline operations but that safety is the “paramount” concern.