Canada grounds Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 9 jets, cites safety concerns

FILE PHOTO: An Air Canada Boeing 737-8 Max airplane is pictured at Vancouver’s international airport in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, February 5, 2019. REUTERS/Ben Nelms

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada on Wednesday became the latest nation to ground Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, citing potential safety concerns after an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing MAX crashed on Sunday killing 157 people.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau told a news conference that Ottawa would stop 737 MAX 8 and 9 jets from leaving, arriving or flying over Canada.

“This safety notice is effective immediately and will remain in place until further notice,” he said.

Garneau said satellite data suggested similarities between the flight profiles of the Ethiopian jet and that of a Lion Air plane of the same type that crashed in Indonesia last year. Both planes crashed shortly after takeoff.

“This is not conclusive, but it is something that points possibly in that direction and at this point we feel that that threshold has been crossed and that is why we are taking these measures,” he said.

Air Canada, which operates 24 Boeing 737 MAX jets, said it was working to re-book passengers as quickly as possible. Rival WestJet Airlines Ltd, which operates 13 of the jets, was not immediately available for comment.

Reporting by David Ljunggren and Julie Gordon in Ottawa; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Meredith Mazzilli

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