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Canadian airlines warn of delays, travellers seek answers on Boeing 737 MAX 8 ban

Canadian airlines warn of delays, travellers seek answers on Boeing 737 MAX 8 ban
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Transportation Minister Marc Garneau announced Wednesday that commercial airlines in Canada will not be allowed to fly the aircraft. The Boeing planes from any airline, including from countries that haven’t suspended the aircraft, won’t be able to fly over the country’s airspace.

The move came amid mounting pressure to ground the Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes, which have been involved in two catastrophic crashes in the past six months.

Several countries around the world have taken similar actions. Here’s what Canadian passengers need to know.

Both Air Canada and WestJet issued statements following the announcement, saying they will comply with Transport Canada’s temporary grounding of the planes.

Air Canada explained its cancellation and rebooking policies are in place, and fees will be waived for affected customers. It noted travellers will face delays in the process.

“…given the magnitude of our 737 MAX operations which on average carry nine to twelve thousand customers per day, customers can expect delays in rebooking and in reaching Air Canada call centres,” the statement read.

WestJet said in its statement that it will be grounding its 13 MAX aircraft, and will work to rebook customers “as quickly as possible.” It noted that 92 per cent of its fleet will remain in service.

Air Canada has 24 MAX 8s in its fleet and WestJet has 13.

Sunwing, another Canadian carrier, already took the decision to ground its four MAX 8 jets on Tuesday night.

Several Canadian travellers took to social media on Wednesday with inquiries about their flights, many confused about whether their flights were affected.

Will another plane be coming to replace these ones? Or do we need to rebook and find a different flight all together??

The suspension comes as thousands of Canadians are away on March break, stoking fears of stranded passengers and rebooking delays.

at least 16 Air Canada flights using the Boeing 737 MAX 8 are currently cancelled and at least four WestJet flights are cancelled. Neither airline has confirmed how many routes will be affected by the ban and for how long.

The carriers use the commuter planes daily to ferry passengers on routes that include Vancouver-Calgary, Honolulu-Vancouver, Vancouver-Montreal and Montreal-Los Angeles.

WestJet explained that it is in the process of updating its flight schedule and those affected will see an update to their itinerary soon, either through email or the airline’s mobile app.

Meanwhile, some Canadian airports advised passengers to check the status of their flights.

In light of the recent announcement by Transport Canada relating to 737 MAX 8 and 9 aircraft, passengers are strongly encouraged to reach out to their airlines to check their flight status before arriving to the airport: https://t.co/5eaYZ2W91T
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