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Air Canada grounds Boeing Max 8s until at least July 1
The airline says the move is intended to provide customers with certainty as they book flights and travel in the coming months.

Some routes are being suspended entirely, including some flights out of St. John's, Halifax, Calgary and Vancouver, as the airline substitutes other aircraft on routes that normally use Max 8s.

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The changes come on the heels of Transport Canada's decision to close Canadian airspace to the aircraft after a Max 8 jet operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed on March 10, killing all 157 people on board, including 18 Canadians. Previously, a Max 8 plane crashed off Indonesia in October, killing 189 people.

Garneau said Monday that Transport Canada is taking a second look at the validation of the 737 MAX 8 jet, which has been grounded around the world over safety concerns following the recent crash of an Ethiopian plane of that model, which killed 157 people, and the Lion Air crash last October that killed 189.

Air Canada announced Tuesday it has adjusted its schedule through to April 30 and is working on updating its May schedules to accommodate affected customers.

The Seattle Times reported that Boeings safety analysis of a new flight control system on MAX jets, known as MCAS, had several crucial flaws, including understating the power of the system. The Times also reported that FAA put pressure on its engineers to speed up the approval process.

Airlines Worldwide Are Planning To Redeploy Their Boeing 737 Max 8 Airplanes

Some routes have been suspended until further notice, including flights from Halifax and St. John's to London's Heathrow airport and seasonal flights from Vancouver to Kona, Hawaii, and Lihue, Hawaii, as well as Calgary to Palm Springs, Calif. Customers booked to fly on those routes will now be scheduled to fly through other hubs.

Air Canada has been substituting other planes for its Max 8s, including extending leases for some aircraft it had planned to stop using. The company is also speeding up acquisition of new planes and has hired other carriers such as Air Transat to operate some flights between Vancouver and Montreal and from Montreal to Cancun, Mexico.

The grounding of the Max 8 jets has also meant some route frequencies have been reduced, as larger aircraft are called in to replace smaller planes.

The MCAS was cited as the potential cause of the Lion Air crash by investigators in Indonesia, and Ethiopias Transport Minister has said an initial analysis of the black boxes recovered from the wreckage showed clear similarities between the two crashes.

Air Canada has suspended its acquisition of six new Max airplanes, which it had expected to receive in March and April.

TL;DR Airlines across the world have grounded their Boeing 737 Max 8 planes after the fatal crash last week. Since then, some airlines have announced that the planes will be grounded until at least July 1, meaning there is the possibility of redeployment by this summer. The FAA has also said that necessary changes on the planes will be made by April 2019. Details below.

The airline says customers whose flight times or numbers have changed will receive an email with an updated itinerary. The company has also implemented a flexible rebooking policy that offers fee waivers or refunds for affected customers.

With airlines across the world grounding the planes, theres obviously a noticeable shortage of flights and an increase in delays due to rerouting. US lawmakers and the Federal Aviation Administration announced last week that Boeing Max 8 and 9 planes will remain grounded within US airports for “weeks” at a minimum, with no redeployment confirmed yet.

Ann de Ste Croix of Dartmouth, N.S., said her April 29 direct flight from Halifax to London was originally scheduled to be on a Max 8.

Just over one week ago, an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 plane crashed, killing all 157 people on board. In response, airlines around the world announced they would be grounding their Boeing 737 Max 8 planes until further notice. Amongst these were Canadian airlines Air Canada, WestJet and Sunwing.

A nervous flyer, de Ste Croix called Air Canada as soon as she heard the concerns about the aircraft. Originally, she was told she'd have to pay a fee to change her flight, but after the planes were grounded, she was offered the change for free, though her flight will now include a stopover in Toronto.

As of now, most airlines have worked around the loss of their planes with most flights rescheduled or adjusted. So it comes as a bit of a surprise that some airlines have already begun planning for the redeployment of these planes, even as early as this summer.

"It's on me to get in contact with them," de Ste Croix said. "So if I hadn't been looking into my flights and paying attention to what was going on in the news, I wouldn't have known. They didn't notify us in any way."

Right now, Canadian airlines have substituted different aircrafts into their fleets to make up for the loss of the planes. Leasing planes from other airlines is common, as well as chartering flights or temporarily suspending certain routes.

WestJet said that as of March 25, its flight schedules will reflect the removal of Max 8 aircraft from its fleet through to the end of April.

The airline has seasonal flights from Halifax to London and Paris that are scheduled to begin in late April. A WestJet spokesperson said the company currently has no scheduled changes to its transatlantic flights.

On Tuesday, Transport Canada said it would send a team to assist the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in evaluating proposed design changes to update the software on the grounded Max jets.

Wang, who was the owner of Big O Tires in Vernon, was travelling to Africa to complete some final paperwork so his family could become permanent residents of Canada.

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The software has been suspected as a contributing factor in the crashes in both Ethiopia and Indonesia.

He was travelling from Vancouver to Kenya with a connection in Ethiopia. The plane crashed into a field just minutes after takeoff, killing everyone on board.

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The team would also help determine if any "changes to the design or procedures are necessary," a spokeswoman for Transport Canada said by email.

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Transport Minister Marc Garneau said on Monday the agency is re-examining the validation it gave the 737 Max 8 following reports of a U.S. probe into the aircraft's certification by the FAA.

Wang’s wife, daughter and extended family travelled to Ethiopia to collect his body, but it could be months before the remains are identified.

Canada accepted the FAA's March 2017 certification of the Max under a deal where such approvals by the U.S. are accepted by Canada and vice versa.

"We may not change anything, but we've decided it's a good idea for us to review the validation of the type certificate that was given for the Max 8," Garneau said.

The changes will be in effect until at least the end of April. Anyone who has travel plans between now and the end of July will be provided with up-to-date information, according to the company, as the MAX planes will be out of circulation until at least July 1.

Air Canada removes 737 Max flights until July

Garneau added that Transport Canada would do its own certification of a software change being prepared by Boeing within the next few weeks "even if it's certified by the FAA."

Airlines around the world have been working to redeploy their fleets since their Max 8s were grounded last week following the deadly crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight that killed all 157 people on board, including 18 Canadians.

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American civil aviation and Boeing investigators search through debris at the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines crash, near the town of Bishoftu, Ethiopia, on March 12, 2019.

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Europe and Canada said they would seek their own guarantees over the safety of Boeings 737 Max, further complicating plans to get the aircraft flying worldwide after they were grounded in the wake of two accidents killing more than 300 people.

The service was suspended last week after the UK banned the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft from its airspace. The Canadian government quickly followed suit as did the United States.

As the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) analyzes Boeings plans for a software fix prompted by the first crash five months ago, the European Unions aviation safety agency EASA promised its own deep look at any design improvements.

We will not allow the aircraft to fly if we have not found acceptable answers to all our questions, EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky told an EU parliament committee hearing.

The country’s largest airline said it is updating its April and May schedules. Some routes are suspended while others will be rerouted. In most cases, it was able to substitute another aircraft and flights will depart as scheduled. Those whose flight times or flight numbers have changed will receive an email. The changes are also available in My Bookings on the Air Canada App.

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Canada said it would independently certify the 737 Max in the future, rather than accepting FAA validation. It also said it would send a team to help U.S. authorities evaluate proposed design changes and decide if others were needed.

Air Canada is trying to rebook customers as soon as possible, but those calling a customer call centre may be put on hold for a while. Passengers travelling within the next 72 hours are advised to call 1-833-354-5963. Travellers who booked their flight through a travel agent are asked to call them directly for assistance.

U.S. government officials do not believe the crash will lead to a worldwide shift away from FAA certifications but U.S. lawmakers, as well as federal prosecutors, are scrutinizing the certification of the Boeing 737 Max.

Since the timeline to return 737s into service is uncertain, it is grounding its Boeing 737 MAX fleet for the next few months to give customers certainty when they book flights. Cancellation and rebooking policies are in place with a full fee waiver for travellers who are affected by the changes.

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The FAA declined to comment on individual actions by Canada or other countries, but said in a statement that the current, historic aviation safety record in the U.S. and globally is achieved through the FAAs robust processes and full collaboration with the aviation community.

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The unusual public intervention by two leading regulators came as a probe into the final minutes of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 turned toward secrets hidden in the cockpit voice recorder.

The move comes after Transport Minister Marc Garneau grounded the entire Canadian fleet of Boeing 737s last week. Canada was one of the last countries to make the move following the deadly crash of an Air Ethiopia jet that killed 157 people including 18 Canadians.

The voices of Captain Yared Getachew and First Officer Ahmednur Mohammed could help explain the March 10 crash of the Boeing 737 Max that has worrying parallels with another disaster involving the same model off Indonesia in October.

Flights from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport that have been rerouted or have had their departure times changed include Toronto to London-Heathrow, Vancouver, Edmonton, Saint Maarten, San Francisco, Seattle and New York-LaGuardia.

The twin disasters killed 346 people, but there is no conclusive evidence so far that they are linked.

When the Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed on the other side of the planet, the Trump administration acted within days to ground both the 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9. But when variations of AR-15 style rifles are used time and time again in massacres on US soil — whether at a concert, a nightclub, an elementary school, a church, a high school, a shop or a synagogue — nothing of consequence, it seems, changes. The guns remain on sale, and it’s a waiting game until the next massacre. It’s as though people’s lives and safety have value in the air, but that value is diluted as soon as the plane lands and they clear customs.

Experts believe a new automated system in Boeings flagship Max fleet – intended to stop stalling by dipping the nose – may have played a role in both crashes, with pilots unable to override it as their jets plunged downwards.

Grounding the 737 MAX 8 planes was, of course, the right thing to do. But if it’s so important to protect people’s safety in the sky, isn’t it equally important to protect people’s safety on the ground too? Any life lost, whether in an aviation disaster or a gun massacre, ought to cause leaders to take swift and decisive action so that other lives aren’t lost in the same way in the future. If safety really is the number one priority, then it should be the number one priority whether we’re at 35,000 feet or our feet are on the ground.

Both came down just minutes after takeoff after erratic flight patterns and loss of control reported by the pilots. However, every accident is a unique chain of human and technical factors, experts say.

For governments and airlines to ground these planes wasn’t an easy decision and created enormous logistic problems. It was expensive too — not just the cost of scrambling to shift passengers onto other flights but the damage to Boeing’s share price as well. A 10 per cent drop in Boeing’s stock wiped more than $25 billion from the company’s market value, according to a CNN report this week. You can’t put a price on people’s lives though.

The prestige of Ethiopian Airlines, one of Africas most successful companies, and Boeing, the worlds biggest plane maker and a massive U.S. exporter, are at stake.

Consider though, the New Zealand experience. A short time after the Ethiopia Airlines crash, like most other countries, New Zealand also suspended flights of this type of aircraft both inbound and outbound. Only one carrier, Fiji Airways, operates this model of aircraft to New Zealand, so the ban didn’t have as great an impact as it did in other countries, but nonetheless it was an important move in the interests of safety.

Lawmakers and safety experts are questioning how thoroughly regulators vetted the Max model and how well pilots were trained on new features. For now, global regulators have grounded the existing fleet of more than 300 Max aircraft, and deliveries of nearly 5,000 more – worth well over $500-billion – are on hold.

Pressure on Chicago-headquartered Boeing has grown with news that federal prosecutors and the U.S. Department of Transportation are scrutinizing how carefully the Max model was developed, two people briefed on the matter said.

That it happened less than six months after the crash of a near identical model, a Lion Air flight in Indonesia, had many of us hitting the panic button. Could the crashes be a coincidence, or was there a major safety issue at play? Aviation gurus began to ask how long it would take for 737 MAX 8’s around the world to be grounded. The answer, it became clear, was not long at all.

The U.S. Justice Department is also looking at the FAAs oversight of Boeing, one of the people said. And a federal grand jury last week issued at least one subpoena to an entity involved in the planes development.

In the hope of getting its Max line back into the air soon, Boeing has said it will roll out a software update and revise pilot training. In the case of the Lion Air crash in Indonesia, it has raised questions about whether crew used the correct procedures.

Chao, whose agency oversees the FAA, said the audit would improve the departments decision-making. Her letter confirmed that she had previously requested an audit. It did not mention reports that the inspector general and federal prosecutors are looking into the development and regulatory approval of the jet.

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Development of the 737 Max, which offers cost savings of about 15 per cent on fuel, began in 2011 after the successful launch by its main rival of the Airbus A320neo. The 737 Max entered service in 2017 after six years of preparation.

The plane is an important part of the Chicago-based Boeings future. The company has taken more than 5,000 orders and delivered more than 250 Max jets last year. Boeing still makes an older version of the popular 737, but it expected the Max to account for 90% of all 737 deliveries this year.

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Argus Research cut Boeing stock to hold from buy, giving the plane maker at least its fourth downgrade since the crash, Refinitiv data showed. Its shares, however, were enjoying a rare respite on Tuesday, up 0.7 per cent at $374.80.

The letter requests an audit to compile an objective and detailed factual history of the activities that resulted in the certification of the Boeing 737 Max-8 aircraft. It also says the audit will help the FAA in ensuring that its safety procedures are implemented effectively.

Various firms are reconsidering Boeing orders, and some are revising financial forecasts given they now cannot count on maintenance and fuel savings factored in from the Max.

Air Canada said it intended to keep its Max aircraft grounded until at least July 1, would accelerate intake of recently acquired Airbus A321 planes, and had hired other carriers to provide extra capacity meantime.

Critics have questioned the FAAs practice of using employees of aircraft manufacturers to handle some safety inspections. FAA inspectors review the work of the manufacturers employees, who are on the company payroll and could face a conflict of interest.

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Many have visited the crash site in a charred field to seek some closure, but there is anger at the slow pace of information and all they have been given for funerals is earth.

Im just so terribly sad. I had to leave here without the body of my dead brother, said Abdulmajid Shariff, a Yemeni relative who headed home disappointed on Tuesday.