Despite two fatal crashes over the past five months, Canadian airlines will not be grounding their Boeing 737 MAX 8 fleets.
On March 10, an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed this shortly after takeoff, killing all 157 passengers and crew on board, including 18 Canadians.
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.
- 18 Canadians among the dead after Ethiopian Airlines flight crashes just after takeoff
- Calgary man among 18 Canadians lost in Ethiopian Airlines crash
At the time, Boeing said that it was deeply sorry for the loss of Lion Air Flight JT 610, and that it is “confident in the safety of the 737 MAX.”
A similar statement was issued on Sunday following the loss of flight ET 302.
“Boeing is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the passengers and crew on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a 737 MAX 8 airplane,” it said. “A Boeing technical team will be travelling to the crash site to provide technical assistance under the direction of the Ethiopia Accident Investigation Bureau and US National Transportation Safety Board.”
Since the news of the crash, China has decided to ground all of its 737 fleet, joining Ethiopian Airlines which grounded its similar fleet soon after the accident.
In Canada, the Canadian Civil Aircraft Register shows airlines here have 41 of the Boeing 737 model.
Of those, 24 belong to Air Canada, 13 to WestJet, and 4 to Sunwing.
The airlines say they are confident in the safety of the fleet.
“WestJet sends heartfelt condolences to those friends and family whose loved ones were on board Ethiopian Airlines flight 302. WestJet remains confident in the safety of our Boeing 737 fleet including our 13 MAX-8 aircraft first introduced in 2017,” said the airline in a statement to Daily Hive. “We have flown five different variants of the Boeing 737 since 1996, and the fleet currently operates around 450 safe daily B737 departures.”
WestJet is also monitoring the situation closely and “will not speculate on the cause of the incident.”
In a tweet, Sunwing said it currently operates three of the Boeing planes.
We are deeply saddened by the tragic accident on board Ethiopian Airlines flight 302. Customer safety is our main priority. We are following Boeing and Transport Canada investigation closely. We currently operate 3 Boeing 737 MAX 8, less than 8% of our fleet.
— Sunwing Vacations (@SunwingVacay) March 10, 2019
Air Canada is also continuing to operate its 737s normally, and the airline says that it has operated this aircraft type since 2017.
“We have extensive analytical data supporting the safety of these aircraft, which have also performed excellently from reliability and customer satisfaction perspective. We are confident in the safety of our operations and fleet, which are approved by government safety regulators including Transport Canada and the FAA. Air Canada follows and implements recommendations and advisories from manufacturers and governmental safety regulators,” reads a statement from Air Canada.
On Twitter, the airline added that ‘a goodwill policy for 736-8 MAX’ has not been created, and their current re-booking policies remain in place. Meaning for any scared travellers who want to switch flights, they would have to pay.
In its last update, Ethiopian Airlines said it has recovered the Digital Flight Data Recorder and the Cockpit Voice Recorder (The Black Box.)
And until it determines the cause of the accident, it has grounded the Boeing fleet.
“Although we don’t yet know the cause of the accident, we had to decide to ground the particular fleet as extra safety precaution,” they said.
Daily Hive has reached out to Sunwing for comment.