Canada's Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced today in Ottawa that all Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 airplanes in Canada are being grounded over safety concerns arising from the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 302, which killed all 157 individuals on board.
Canada joins a wave of countries that have already done the same since Sunday’s tragic incident.
Up until the announcement, Air Canada and WestJet were the only major remaining airlines in Canada that said they would continue to fly the fleet after Sunwing Airlines revealed it was grounding its four Boeing 737 MAX 8s late last night.
Sunwing said in a statement:
"Sunwing Airlines supports Transport Canada's decision on the Boeing 737 MAX 8 and will continue to advise on this situation. We are currently finalizing a revised schedule to accommodate the temporary withdrawal of our MAX flight service. We thank our partners and customers for their patience as we continue to provide these updates. We will strive to minimize the impact of these schedule changes and we do not plan to cancel flights."
WestJet issued a statement today in response to Transport Canada’s decision:
“We respect the decision made by Transport Canada and are in the process of grounding the 13 MAX aircraft in our fleet. This decision has an impact on the travel plans of our WestJet guests and we ask for understanding as we work to rebook all guests affected as quickly as possible,” the company wrote.
The airline reiterated that it has "162 aircraft or more than 92 per cent of our overall fleet that remain in service.”
The company added that guests can book “with confidence knowing that we continue to fly throughout the network with the safety of guests and employees at the forefront.”
WestJet said it will be “contacting impacted guests to arrange for alternate travel plans.”
In a similar vein, Air Canada said in a statement that “it will comply immediately with Transport Canada's safety notice.”
Air Canada's cancellation and rebooking policies are in place with a “full fee waiver for affected customers,” the company stated.
“We are working to rebook impacted customers as soon as possible but given the magnitude of our 737 MAX operations which on average carry nine to twelve thousand customers per day, customers can expect delays in rebooking and in reaching Air Canada call centres and we appreciate our customers' patience,” the airline stated.
Air Canada further advised its customers to check the status of their flight on aircanada.com prior to going to the airport.
This is a developing story.