The list of countries grounding Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft is growing following Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines crash. While most air travellers likely never check their tickets to see what type of aircraft they will fly on before boarding a flight, that seems to have changed.
Eric LaMont Gregory was flying out of the Edmonton International Airport Tuesday, touching down in Calgary before heading off to Beijing.
He works for an international organization and is a frequent worldwide traveller. Before Sunday’s crash, he said he had never checked the type of plane he would be flying on, but that’s since changed.
“We’re not flying a 737 MAX 8. We checked,” LaMont Gregory said.
“Before this weekend, I’d lull to sleep like everybody else. And then we got a wake-up call.”
Sunday’s crash in Ethiopia killed all 157 people on board, including 18 Canadians, three of which are confirmed to be from the Edmonton area. Last year, the same type of aircraft crashed in Indonesia.
“Because two of those planes going down in such a short amount of time, it’s concerning. Especially if they didn’t pull all of those flights immediately,” LaMont Gregory said.
Aviation authorities in China, Indonesia and Ethiopia have ordered airlines to ground their Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes. Cayman Airways said it was temporarily grounding the two MAX 8 aircraft it operates. On Tuesday, aviation authorities in the U.K., Germany, France and Ireland all moved to ground their fleets of Boeing 737 MAX 8s.
Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau said Canada will not order its airlines to ground their Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes.The minister said it was important to not “jump to conclusions,” while the investigation into Sunday’s deadly crash was underway.
Watch below: Minister of Transport Marc Garneau said the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft would not be grounded in Canada as the government was still “evaluating” the true causes of the crash that killed 18 Canadians on Sunday.
Canadian airlines Air Canada, WestJet and Sunwing Airlines fly 41 planes of the type that crashed in Ethiopia. Air Canada has 24, WestJet flies 13 and Sunwing has four.
The United States has not grounded the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft either.
LaMont Gregory believes Canada should re-think its decision.
“I would expect the Canadian government to follow suit — ground the planes, have them checked out.”
Canadians who want to switch flights so they aren’t travelling on a Boeing 737 Max 8 will have to pay up. The Flight Centre travel agency said Air Canada and WestJet are not waving flight change or cancellation fees.
With files from Kendra Slugoski, Andrew Russell and Maham Abedi, Global News.
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