Canada said Wednesday that it is grounding all Boeing 737 Max 8 airplanes over safety concerns arising from the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight earlier this week.
The news leaves the United States and its carriers as the last major users of the aircraft.
Transport Minister Marc Garneau said he issued what he calls a “safety notice” after new data was reviewed Wednesday morning
Garneau said the new information reviewed Wednesday is satellite tracking data that is collected when an aircraft takes off, which he says provides a vertical profile. His experts looked at this data and compared it to that of the Lion Air crash in October, which involved the same type of craft, and found similarities that “exceed a certain threshold in our minds” with the possibilities of what happened in Ethiopia.
“At this point we feel that threshold has been crossed and that is why we are taking those measures,” Garneau said.
Meanwhile, Ethiopian Airlines said Wednesday that it will send the voice and data recorders from its ill-fated Flight 302 to be analyzed in Europe. A spokesman said the country had yet to be chosen.
Canada on Wednesday also broke with the Trump administration and issued a safety notice restricting any operation of Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 jets from domestic or international flights.
Garneau said he issued what he calls a “safety notice” after new data was reviewed Wednesday morning.
The Digital Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder from the Ethiopian Airlines flight, commonly called “black boxes,” had been recovered as of midday Monday, the airline said.
Officials around the world have cited the continued absence of clear information from the plane to call for Boeing 737 Max 8 jets to be grounded.
The data from the two flight recorders are eagerly awaited as investigators seek to find any connection between Sunday’s crash and another on a Boeing 737 MAX 8 that crashed shortly after takeoff in October in Indonesia.
After China grounded the plane on Monday, most countries followed suit, including much of Europe. The latestbans were issued by India, Egypt, Uzbekistan, Turkey and Hong Kong.
Ethiopian Airlines chief executive Tewolde Gebremariam told CNN on Tuesday that the pilot reported “flight control problems” and asked to return to the airport.
Tewolde said that the boxes would be sent abroad “because we don’t have the equipment here” to analyze their data.
While Tewolde of Ethiopian Airlines said the cause of the crash was not yet clear, hecast doubt on the airworthiness of the 737 Max.
“Two major fatal accidents on the same airplane model, brand new airplane model, in six months – so there are a lot of questions to be answered on the airplane,” he said.
In remarks to local media, Tewolde also revealed that pilots received additional training from Boeing to fly the 737 Max after an Indonesian domestic Lion Air flight crashed into the Java Sea shortly after takeoff last year.
“After the Lion Air crash, questions were raised, so Boeing sent further instructions that it said pilots should know,” he said, according to the Associated Press. “Those relate to the specific behavior of this specific type of aircraft. As a result, training was given by Boeing, and our pilots have taken it and put it into our manuals.”
(c) 2019, The Washington Post · Luz Laz, Paul Schemm