Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes are parked near Boeing Co.’s 737 assembly facility in Renton, Wash. on Nov. 14, 2018. In the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines tragedy, Canada’s two largest airlines say they are confident in the safety of the Boeing aircraft that makes up part of their fleets. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Ted S. Warren

Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes are parked near Boeing Co.’s 737 assembly facility in Renton, Wash. on Nov. 14, 2018. In the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines tragedy, Canada’s two largest airlines say they are confident in the safety of the Boeing aircraft that makes up part of their fleets. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Ted S. Warren

Canadians swamp airlines with safety concerns around Boeing 737 following crash

The accident raised concerns over parallels to a crash of the same model of aircraft in Indonesia last October

Canada’s major airlines are being inundated on social media with questions about the safety of their fleet in the wake of the fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday.

The accident, which killed all 157 aboard the Boeing 737 Max 8 — including 18 Canadians — raised concerns over parallels to a Lion Air crash of the same model of aircraft in Indonesia last October, killing 189 people.

Angie Hung, scheduled for a WestJet flight June 5 from Calgary to Halifax en route to Scotland for a Spice Girls concert, was one of scores of Canadians asking airlines if they planned to ground the Max 8, the plane listed on her flight.

“I am planning to tweet, ‘I love you mom and dad,’” she said in an interview, “in case something bad happens.”

“If I could afford to cancel and change it I would,” said Hung, 42.

Fernando Candido, an Edmonton-based elementary school teacher, said he flies up to 10 times per year.

“I’m kind of worried. I’m sure eventually I’ll have to use one of those planes,” said Candido, 58. “Maybe in Canada they should not fly those planes any more until they figure out those issues.”

The country’s two largest airlines said they are confident in the safety of the Boeing 737 Max 8.

Air Canada said in an email it has 24 Max 8 aircraft, which fly routes that include Vancouver to Montreal and Calgary to Vancouver.

“These aircraft have performed excellently from a safety, reliability and customer satisfaction perspective,” said spokeswoman Isabelle Arthur. “We continue to operate our normal B737 schedule.”

In response to concerns raised by social media users, WestJet Airlines Ltd. tweeted Monday that it is not grounding any of the 13 Max 8s in its fleet of 121 Boeing 737s.

“WestJet remains confident in the safety of our Boeing 737 fleet,” spokeswoman Morgan Bell said in an email. The airline is “working with Boeing to ensure the continued safe operation of our Max fleet,” she said.

The Calgary-based company has orders for 37 more 737s on the books.

WestJet has flown five different models of the 737 since the airline was founded in 1996, and now operates about 450 daily departures of the plane series, according to the company.

READ MORE: B.C. man among Ethiopian Airlines crash victims

READ MORE: Canadians mourn as victims of Ethiopian Airlines crash identified

The Boeing jetliner is relatively new, entering into service at both airlines in 2017.

Ethiopian Airlines as well as all Chinese and Indonesian airlines have grounded their Boeing 737 Max 8 planes indefinitely in the wake of the crash, which occurred after takeoff from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport.

The Air Canada Pilots Association said it is “is actively engaged in monitoring the situation as it develops.”

The unions for Air Canada and WestJet flight crews declined to comment on the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302.

Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Courtenay resident labours to remove the snow build-up from around her car in February 2019. The area may see snow throughout the coming weekend. Black Press file photo
Snow, winter not done with the Comox Valley quite yet

Flurries, snow and cold temps predicted for the weekend

Dr. John Hooper is the new conductor of Island Voices. Photo supplied
Island Voices welcomes new conductor

This spring will be a time of transition for Island Voices chamber… Continue reading

From left—Rev. Ryan Slifka (minister, St. George’s); Ellen Wise (elder, St. George’s); Evangeline Mathura, (vice-president, Dawn to Dawn); Grant Shilling (outreach worker, Dawn to Dawn), with a cheque for $10,433.15.
Courtenay church donates more than $10,000 to transitional housing and support service

St. Goerge’s presents Dawn to Dawn with $10,433.15 cheque

A pine siskin is treated for salmonella poisoning at the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) hospital, in Merville. Photo by Gylaine Anderston.
Salmonella poisoning in birds and pets a result of unclean bird feeders

Have you ever endured a bout of food poisoning? If you remember… Continue reading

Inside the new shop operated by Wachiay Friendship Centre. Jared Kotyk (left), Jan Kotyk, Paloma Joy, Tim Gagnon, Jonah Hill, Jennifer Corbett and Tally, the shop dog. Photo supplied
Wachiay opens store-front arts shop in downtown Courtenay

There’s still tailor-work in the back of old AnnSew site, with the store in front

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

442 Transport and Rescue Squadron from CFB Comox was tasked to assist Arrowsmith Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR) in extracting an injured hiker off of Mount Arrowsmith on Jan. 17. Photo by Capt.Reg Reimer
442 Transport and Rescue Squadron assists in Mount Arrowsmith rescue

“The turbulent conditions … made the hoisting quite challenging.”

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Most Read