Air Canada flights between Halifax and London affected by U.K. ban on Boeing 737 MAX aircraft
Air Canada routes between Halifax and London’s Heathrow Airport are affected by a U.K. ban on the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft.
The U.K. Civil Aviation Authority announced Tuesday morning it was banning the aircraft from its airspace in light of the fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people over the weekend, including 18 Canadians.
Later in the day, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency also grounded the Boeing jet. Several countries and individual airlines around the world have opted to ground the aircraft, including China, Indonesia, Singapore, France and Germany.
Air Canada has 24 Boeing 737 MAX 8s and uses the plane on routes between Halifax and London, as well as St. John’s and London.
A flight from Heathrow Airport was already en route to Halifax when the U.K. ban was announced. However, Tuesday night’s flight out of Halifax Stanfield International Airport was marked as cancelled on the airport’s departure board.
Rebecca Lau (@RebeccaLau) March 12, 2019
Passengers who landed in Halifax at around 3 p.m. AT on the flight from Heathrow Airport generally said they didn’t know about the ban, but were a bit worried.
“A little worried but once you’re up there, there’s nothing you can do so there’s no point to dwell on it too much,” said Halifax resident Tim Bunker, who noticed he was boarding a Boeing 737 Max 8 back in London.
He says he would not fly on the aircraft again.
“No, not until things get sorted out,” he said.
Fellow passenger Fran Nowakowski says she felt completely safe despite knowing the model of plane she was flying on, and would fly on the same type of plane again.
“We read the news that the Air Canada planes have been in service for over two years, so we weren’t worried,” she said.
“I don’t think we knew there was that much of a ban, but we had heard about the fact that Air Canada and WestJet have been using the plane for the last two years and we’ve flown in that time. We trusted the airlines.”
In a statement, Air Canada says it is rebooking affected passengers through Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa. Affected customers are asked to contact Air Canada Reservations to change their flights free of charge.
The airline also says they are “confident in the safety of our operations and fleet.”
“Air Canada follows and implements recommendations and advisories from manufacturers and governmental safety regulators. This includes, previous 737 Max bulletins reinforcing existing procedures which all Air Canada crew were already trained on,” the statement reads.
Air Canada has said it will not ground its fleet of Boeing 733 MAX 8s, a sentiment echoed by WestJet Airlines Ltd. and Sunwing Airlines, which also uses the planes.
In a statement, WestJet says it does use Max 8s to fly from Gatwick Airport in London, as well as Paris, to Halifax. However, those flights are seasonal and do not start until late April, so there is no impact at this time.
Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau tweeted Tuesday afternoon that he was meeting with the Civil Aviation Expert Panel and that “all evidence is being evaluated in real time and we’re considering all potential actions.”
WATCH: Marc Garneau: Canada prepared to ground MAX 8 if need be
The same type of plane was involved in a crash on Oct. 29, 2018, that killed 189 passengers and crew aboard Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia.
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