Canada grounds Boeing 737 Max 8

Boeing 737-800 aircraft prepares to take off from the company's Seattle airfield in the state of Washington.

TRANSPORT Minister Marc Garneau on Wednesday announced that Canada will ground Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft following new information that his department had received.

The Ethiopian Airlines crash on Monday killed all 157 people on board, including 18 Canadians.

Garneau said: “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.”

Garneau said the decision was made after his department received new information.

He said that there had been no pressure from the U.S.

Garneau said he has been in touch with Air Canada, West Jet, and Sunwing.

In a statement, Garneau said: “My thoughts continue to go out to all those affected by the tragic aircraft accident involving an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

“Following advice from Transport Canada Civil Aviation experts, as a precautionary measure, I am issuing a safety notice to address this issue. 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.

“This safety notice is effective immediately, and will remain in place until further notice.

“The advice the experts have provided is based on the information they have been receiving; the requirements for new procedures and training for Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 9 flight crews they have already put in place; and the latest information available from the incidents.

“It is too soon to speculate about the cause of the accident in Addis Ababa, and to make direct links to the Lion Air accident in Indonesia in October 2018; however, my department has been closely monitoring the investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority.

“Following the Lion Air accident, Transport Canada adopted the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Airworthiness Directive. It also required that Canadian airlines who operate the Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 9 aircraft, put new procedures in place and implement additional crew training.

“We were one of the first countries to do so and not all countries have implemented this change. And these Canadian requirements for new procedures and training to protect against the risk identified went above and beyond the measures directed by the United States Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing – and above and beyond what other nations have done.

 “Canada has an enviable aviation safety record because of the professionalism and safety-first focus of Canada’s aviation industry – those who design and manufacture aircraft, those who maintain them, our airports, our air traffic controllers and of course those who operate and fly the aircraft. It also due to the world-class knowledge, expertise and relentless focus on safety by Transport Canada officials who are responsible for developing regulations and ensuring compliance with those regulations.

 “My departmental officials continue to monitor the situation and I will not hesitate to take swift action, should we discover any additional safety issues.”