Air Canada flight attendants are expressing concern about the safety of Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplanes following the Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed all 157 passengers and crew on board, including 18 Canadians.
In a statement, the Air Canada Component of CUPE said that Air Canada flight attendants “don’t want to be forced to fly on Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplanes” because they have “safety concerns” after the Ethiopian Airlines tragedy.
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Flight ET 302 took off on the morning of March 10, at 8:38 am local time, from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on route to Nairobi, Kenya. The airport lost contact with the plane just six minutes later at 8:44 am.
The plane involved in the crash was a Boeing 737 MAX 8, the same make and model of a plane that went down in Indonesia in October 2018.
Since Sunday’s crash, the Boeing 737 MAX has been banned China, India, the UK, the EU.
Canadian airlines, however, are not grounding the planes.
The Canadian Civil Aircraft Register shows airlines here have 41 of the new Boeing 737 model.
Of those, 24 belong to Air Canada, 13 to WestJet, and four to Sunwing. The airlines say they are confident in the safety of the fleet.
Wesley Lesosky, union president of the Air Canada Component of CUPE, said that Air Canada should allow flight attendants who are worried about their safety on the Boeing 737 to be reassigned to other flights.
“The Air Canada Component of CUPE who represents flight attendants at Air Canada mainline and Rouge is calling on the company to at a minimum continue to offer reassignment to crew members who do not want to fly on this type of airplane,” said Lesosky. “The safety of passengers and crews must be the absolute priority.”
As of Monday, authorities are still investigating what caused the plane to crash.
The cause of the crash is currently unknown. In a press conference on Sunday, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines — who had visited the crash site — stated:
It is too early to speculate the cause of the accident and further investigation will be carried out to find out the cause of the accident in collaboration with all stakeholders including Boeing, Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority and other international entities to maintain the international standard and information will be provided once the cause is identified.
A senior captain of the airlines was piloting the plane.
According to the airline, among the 149 passengers and eight crew members were 35 different nationalities, including 18 Canadians.
The B-737-800MAX had flown from Johannesburg to Addis earlier Sunday morning, and had undergone a “rigorous first check maintenance” on February 4.
The Airline has set up emergency hotlines for those seeking more information on the flight and those on board.
Airport emergency hotline
(251)11 5 17 87 33
(251)115 17 47 35
(251)11 5 17 41 00
For all information necessary
(251)11 5 17 89 45
(251)11 5 17 89 87
(251)11 5 17 82 31
(251)11 5 17 85 58
— Ethiopian Airlines (@flyethiopian) March 10, 2019