Canada Grounds 737 MAX, Only US Airlines Fly The Plane Now

Filed Under: Air Canada, Other Airlines

Yesterday it seemed to just be the US and Canada against the world, as virtually every other country banned the 737 MAX from their airspace.

Well, Canada has now banned the Boeing 737 MAX from their airspace. Canada’s transport minister had the following to say:

“This safety notice restricts commercial passenger flights from any air operator, both domestic and foreign, of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 9 aircraft from arriving, departing, or overflying Canadian airspace.”

This means that Air Canada and WestJet are being forced to ground their planes — Sunwing already voluntarily did so earlier today.

Every single major 737 MAX operator is now grounded — either voluntarily or due to decisions by the government — except those in the US.

That means at this point American, Southwest, and United 737 MAX aircraft are the only ones continuing to fly. It’s the US against the world, it seems…

I don’t have a whole lot else to add, other than linking back to my post from yesterday.

  1. I wonder if the bookies in Vegas are taking bets on when the FAA will follow. My money’s on 4pm today at the latest.

  2. Probably less to do with new information and more to do with the fact that it no longer makes sense to be stubborn about it.

    Everyone else except the US has banned it. If anything were to happen with the MAX, imagine the amount of flak Canada would get for not grounding them.

  3. At this point the FAA may be forced to ground the jet – there is enough circumstantial evidence to not just warrant it, but if there is a design flaw and there is another accident or it is confirmed to be a design flaw, it will cripple the FAA’s credibility and potentially cause a downturn for US airlines.

  4. Will be interesting and challenging for Air Canada to say the least!

    AC has 24 737 Max-8s or about 12.5% of their fleet. Going to be some disruptions. Will they do some wet leasing?

  5. If you filter your worldmap view on flightradar24 by the aircraft type = B38M – the only planes flying are over the US and some over Canada that are already inflight (from before the grounding).

    And yes, one plane over Europe from Smartwings that just landed, coming from Ankara to Prague.

    That is it! Zip!

  6. The inaction of the FAA baffles me, but the relative – shall we say arrogance – of AA, SWA and UA (even though just operate a different variety of MAX) to keep flying the jets is more than surprising. Acknowledging that SWA has a passenger-friendly policy towards changing flights operated on the -8 MAX, as a consumer I can certainly choose not to fly AA or UA on routes that are, or could foreseeably be, operated on the -8 MAX until this is sorted out.

    Guess I’ll be earning more Skypesos than normal!

  7. Many US airlines fly over Canadian airspace on domestic flights.

    This will make fleet management very difficult for US carriers.

  8. @Micah

    Considering how many planes are out of service worldwide, I think wet leasing will be difficult.

    Sure they will try, but there are only so many planes out there available.

  9. On of the things I find fascinating is that one of the airlines that has NOT grounded the Max8 is Ethiopian! There is a plane right now in the air bound for Addis from Mombasa.

  10. @leao, every country and every airline (including Copa) except for the United States and its carriers have grounded their MAX fleet.

  11. I’m no expert here, but for airlines not choosing to ground the 737MAX aircraft, a stop-gap measure would be to waive change fees for passengers who would like to change flights to others using different aircraft. Would be logistically difficult perhaps, but no more so than when they waive change fees due to inclement weather….

    Or would that be an airline essentially acknowledging that there is a problem to begin with which could get them into hot water later should there be any further incidents?

  12. @Ben: Maybe not. We have been living on a different planet in the past two years regarding credibility, integrity and accountability. The world and US economies were in big recession in 2008, which was caused by all major US banks. Yet all US financial regulatory agencies were in cahoot with the banks and all escaped unscathed and became more strengthened dominant. Did you know that Kushner is seeking $1.5B in loans from Freddie Mac and its sister to buy huge housing and commercial complexes in NJ, I think? And Mnuchin is the Treasury Dept. Secretary who is a fierce and loyal Trump henchman. The US airlines can voluntarily ground their fleet without FAA order. But they did not , so far. In the near future, we may read in a major US newspaper that details the collusion or coercion in the decision not to ground the fleet in US.

  13. This is a must read:

    Explains the design changes to the Max series (aerodynamic effect of larger engine on un-changed basic design).

    It would appear – from suggestions rather than facts – that the US operators of the type have the “optional” indicator that alerts the pilot of dangerous pitch, preventing what has happened in the Indonesian accident (confirmed NOT to have the “optional” indicator). Implication is that Ethiopian also did not have “optional” indicator.

    What is shocking is that neither Boeing nor the FAA are willing to say any of this (legal liability, etc.???).

  14. @ Chris….Maybe they know something we don’t know, but have shared with our Transportation and Safety Board that is onsite as we speak.

  15. A few weeks ago, we read about the Air New Zealand flight that returned to NZ half way through its flight to China essentially because someone didn’t tick a box. And how many times have captains turned aircraft around for some seemingly obscure reason? That is how much precaution the industry puts into safety. To ground the jet is a sensible step until we know for sure there is nothing wrong with this plane. It’s all about safety after all, right (that’s what the brochures say anyway)?

    Here, the equation is quite simple when you compare what MAY happen if you ground the jet or not:
    GROUND THE JET: Potential (likely) loss of profits
    KEEP IT FLYING : Potential for a crash and loss of life

    Each country has chosen their priorities and the FAA/US has just demonstrated what is more important to them.

  16. My two cents worth on the FAA is that Trump would never admit failure or defeat so he won’t let the FAA ground the plane.

    Also, I do think that US pilots are probably the best trained and the FAA has strict rules about recertification and on-going training so when these planes were delivered, US & Canadian pilots probably saw the issues, reported them, and continued to fly – knowing the procedures to override the system. If these problems with MASC were so bad – it would already have been made public.

  17. This is what US gets for going after Huawei. China just kneecapped Boeing. And the FAA just lost its leading role in the world. Everybody including Canada followed China’s lead and not the FAA.
    It can be a foreshadow of whose lead they are going to follow on the Huawei issue

  18. Minister Garneau and Transport Canada look so dumb right now.

    Monday: All is safe with the Max 8
    Tuesday: All is safe with the Max 8
    Wednesday: The Max 8 is unsafe

    We’ve had not much new technical information in the last three days. Today the Ethiopian CEO confirmed reports that the pilot reported flight control problems, again nothing new here. Garneau mentioned ‘new data’ but couldn’t describe it. The big news today though? Ethiopian are considering sending the flight recorders to Europe rather than the US.

  19. Quoting the BBC: “Marc Garneau said that satellite data showed possible similarities between flight patterns of Boeing 737 Max planes operating in Canada and the Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed.”

  20. @Dennis @EC2 Maybe ET is repositioning their aircraft. Good point. Still, it means there was an Ethiopian 738Max in the air just a short time ago!

  21. Surprisingly Canada took 3 days to ground the 737 Max 8 considering so many of their citizens perished in the ET302 crash. Though it’s not a valid reason to ground but just to show solidarity with its citizens I expected them to take the lead. At least it’s better late than never.

    The FAA Boeing and the airlines in US are the only ones rallying behind the 737 MAX 8. It’s incredible and just in case they come unscathed the goodwill they will get in aviation is unimaginable. God forbid something goes wrong before they take a decision the repercussions are going to be equally unprecedented. Time will tell.

    But their defiant stand not to ground the beleaguered plane must be based on something they only know. Like the American planes have some indication switch for the pilots which other operators of this plane do not have. Also the pilots are better trained in the US to handle this plane better than other countries pilots.

    Interesting times ahead. It’s US v ROW. Bring it on!

  22. Boeing, the FAA, and AA/UA all need to let go of their meaningless stubbornness.
    I cannot believe they are risking human lives with this nonsense.
    Ground the 737 Max already.

  23. @Kalboz, who cares what Ralph Nader has to say. He caused the deaths of thousands of lives in Iraq.

  24. Don’t listen to the critics, ‘Merica is still leading the world (in cowboy logic), if you doubt me just ask the calm and honest man we thoughtfully elected to manage our affairs.

  25. @tom (with little “t”), the fact that the Black Box is going to Germany shows that the world knows the FAA is tainted and potentially corrupt. Definitely not an “independent third party” that’s for sure.

  26. I am curious. Can states individually ban an aircraft? Or, a particular airport authority from serving their airport?

  27. The Indian DCGA will not allow deliveries of the aircraft until safety concerns have been thoroughly investigated and resolved.

  28. @Debit.

    I am nite, male, and have voted Republican. I am obviously complicit. Hopefully I will be waterboarded in the most humane way possible as atonement for my sins.

  29. @leao, your news was from March 11 and although they were one of the last, they are definitely grounded now. You will likely have an aircraft change, but if I were you, I’d get in contact with them ASAP anyway.

    I hope you have a good flight – I’m actually booked on Copa in 2 weeks myself (737-800 though).

  30. @Chris
    Ethiopian was one of the first to ground the jet. First it was China on Monday morning I believe, Indonesia followed, then Ethiopian said it would ground its own jets. Looking on FR24, none of its MAX planes have flown since Sunday, at least the ones I checked. The planes that flew all departed within an hour or two of ET302; once the planes came back to base they never flew again.

  31. Air Canada has a 47% on time performance networkwide (worst in the world)

    No wonder they lobbied the govt to let them keep flying.
    Good to see the minister finally said enough to his corporate overlords.

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