It took longer than it probably should have but Canada did it.
The federal government announced Tuesday that Boeing’s new 737 Max 8 and Max 9 commercial airplanes will be banned from taking off, landing or flying through Canadian airspace for an indefinite period of time.
Canada now joins a host of other nations in implementing some form of a ban.
The decision comes days after an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft crashed in Ethiopia, killing all 157 people onboard. One of the 18 Canadians who died was Micah Messent, a Vancouver Island University graduate and B.C. Parks employee who was on his way to Kenya for United Nations event. It’s unknown what caused the accident at this time. In October, a Lion Air Max 8 crashed into the Java Sea near Indonesia, killing all 189 people onboard. The cause in that accident has yet to be determined. In both cases, the aircraft involved was relatively new if not brand new.
The 737 Max-series airplanes are the latest narrow-body aircraft from Boeing. The planes are loaded with new technology and have the ability to fly farther and for longer than previous generations of the 737. Airlines around the world have begun flying the Max 8, including Air Canada and WestJet, which both have more than a dozen of them and have ordered many more.
In the interest of safety and the fact that Canadians were killed, the government’s decision is a no-brainer and should’ve been done sooner. One could only imagine the fallout if another Max 8 were to be involved in some kind of an accident, particularly a fatal one. There would be questions and likely lawsuits.
The government has a responsibility to put the protection of Canadians ahead of the profits of airlines. In this case, it’s better to err on the side of caution than be on the wrong side of a plane crash.