Friday,  May 24, 2019  10:20 am

U.K. ban on 737 MAX 8 cancels Air Canada Halifax-London flight

U.K. ban on 737 MAX 8 cancels Air Canada Halifax-London flight
Image of a Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft operated by Air Canada. Photo: Air Canada
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

Air Canada has cancelled its Halifax to London flight tonight (March 12), PAX has learned.

This follows today's decision by the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority to ban all Boeing 737 MAX 8s in its airspace in response to the deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed all 157 people on board on Sunday, including 18 Canadians.

The Ethiopian Airlines crash became the second crash involving the Boeing aircraft series since last October when a 737 MAX 8 plane, operated by Lion Air, slammed into the Java Sea in Jakarta, Indonesia, killing 189 people.

READ MORE: Eighteen Canadians killed on Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302

Air Canada currently has 24 Boeing 737 MAX 8s in its fleet and has been flying them since 2017 when the models were first introduced. The airline uses the aircraft for flights between Halifax and London and St. John's and London.

One flight from London Heathrow Airport, AC861, was already on its way to Halifax when the U.K. announced the ban.

Tonight's Halifax-London flight, however, has officially been cancelled, as noted on the Halifax Stanfield International Airport departures board.

CANCELLED. A screen shot of the Halifax Stanfield International Airport departures board.

According to a statement obtained by Global News, Air Canada says it is rebooking affected customers through Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa. Those customers impacted are also asked to contact Air Canada Reservations to change their flights free of charge.

Air Canada also cancelled Flight 822, which was scheduled to leave St. John's for Heathrow on Wednesday night. 

WestJet uses MAX 8s to connect Halifax with London-Gatwick and Paris, but those flights do not start until April as they are seasonal. 

READ MORE: Boeing crisis escalates as countries ban 737 MAX 8 jets

EU suspends Boeing 737 MAX flights 

The news unfolds as a wave of countries begin to block 737 MAX 8 jets from their airspace as a safety provision on account of Sunday’s crash in Ethiopia.

Today, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) officially grounded all Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 737 MAX 9 jets in Europe as a "precautionary measure." 

Australia, China, Oman, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore and China have also all grounded Boeing's 737 MAX 8s as investigators in Ethiopia try to determine the cause of Sunday’s crash. 

Both the U.S. and Canada are still allowing the aircraft to resume its operations. 

READ MORE: WestJet, Air Canada respond to 737 MAX 8 crisis

Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau told reporters in Montreal yesterday that Canada will not order its airlines to ground their Boeing 737 MAX 8, but told the Canadian Press today that "all options are on the table'' and that his department is working with the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority to determine if action is required.

Air Canada, WestJet and Sunwing all fly the 737 MAX 8, which is one of Boeing's best-selling aircrafts. 

This is a developing story. 

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