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Air Canada and WestJet’s decision to keep the Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes in the air won’t matter now because the Canadian government has put its foot down.
Marc Garneau, Canada’s transport minister, announced today that all MAX 8 planes in Canada would be grounded over safety concerns.
The concerns stem from a pair of deadly crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia over recent months that have killed nearly 350 combined people, including 18 Canadians.
Garneau says the decision was made after a review of evidence about the aircraft and means none of the aircraft can fly into, out of or over Canada.
"I will not hesitate to take swift action should we discover any additional safety issues."
Garneau added that evidence about multiple MAX 8 flights suggest a worrying correlation between the Ethiopian Airlines crash and the Lion Air crash in Indonesia in October.
The ban follows in the footsteps of the European Union, China, New Zealand, Australia and other countries that have all ordered the plane out of their airspace.
Until today’s decision, Canada and the United States were two of the notable outliers, with Air Canada and WestJet both publicly stating that they had confidence in the plane.
Sunwing Airlines announced late Tuesday night that it would temporarily be grounding its four MAX 8 planes in Canada.
The U.S.−based Boeing has said it has no reason to pull the popular aircraft from the skies and does not intend to issue new recommendations about the aircraft to customers.
Anyone who has a flight affected by the grounding should contact their airlines to find out what to do, said Garneau.
With files from the Canadian Press.