A Canadian air carrier has decided to ground its small fleet of Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, following the lead of other countries. So far, though, it’s alone in doing so in the Great White North.
Sunwing Vacations announced on Tuesday night it was grounding its four MAX 8 planes — but it’s not for reasons of safety, said a company statement.
“For evolving commercial reasons unrelated to safety, including airspace restrictions being imposed by some of our partner destinations, Sunwing Airlines has taken the decision to temporarily suspend the operations of our four Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft,” the statement said.
“We are in the process of revising our flying schedule to accommodate the temporary removal of our MAX aircraft from service and we appreciate the patience of our retail partners and customers while we work to communicate these updates.”
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Sunwing’s decision bucks the trend in Canada. The federal government has so far said it will not ground the 41 MAX 8 planes that are operated by the country’s airlines.
Air Canada has 24 such planes. WestJet has 13, and it has an order for 50 in total.
Transport Minister Marc Garneau is scheduled to hold a press conference on the issue on Wednesday morning.
Earlier Tuesday, he said he had cancelled all his meetings and public events to meet with his Civil Aviation Expert Panel, and that “all evidence is being evaluated in real time and we’re considering all potential actions.”
Canada is also bucking a trend around the world — countries such as the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, China and Singapore have all grounded the planes.
The U.S. hasn’t, however. Aviation officials in the country said Tuesday that flights of the 737 MAX 8 would carry on.
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There is a complication, however, for airlines that fly into airspace where the aircraft are banned.
The European Aviation and Safety Agency (EASA), which oversees flight activity in the U.K. and the European Union (EU) has banned the 737 MAX 8 from its airspace.
Ireland, France, Germany, Belgium, Austria and the Netherlands also announced that Boeing 737 MAX 8’s could not fly there.