Boeing’s 737 MAX series has been in service for less than two years.
Since its maiden commercial voyage in July of 2017, the jet has been involved in two fatal accidents, in October 2018 and March 2019. Both times the plane crashed less than 15 minutes after take-off.
While investigations are still underway to determine the cause of both incidents, Canadian Transportation Minister Marc Garneau is grounding all Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 9 aircraft in Canada.
“Following advice from Transport Canada Civil Aviation experts, as a precautionary measure, I am issuing a safety notice to address this issue,” said Garneau in a statement. “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.”
United States President Donald Trump has done the same.
— The FAA (@FAANews) March 13, 2019
Canada was one of the last countries to ground Boeing’s rickety jets. The United States actually was the last.
Garneau’s announcement comes a day after Air Canada and WestJet stood by the aircraft’s safety record, and on the same day that Air Canada’s flight attendants’ union said crew don’t want to be forced to fly on Boeing’s 737 MAX planes.
“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,” added Garneau.
Air Canada has 24 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in its fleet. WestJet has 13. Sunwing, also Canadian, grounded its fleet of four 737 MAX jets ahead of the the government mandate.
It has yet to be determined how much of a financial hit Canadian airlines will need to absorb as a result of the decision. One thing is certain: it’ll probably fall on travellers sooner or later. But as they say, life is priceless.