WestJet and Air Canada will continue their use of the Boeing 737-8 Max, which sometimes service the Victoria International Airport. (Helmy Oved/Wikimedia Commons)

COLUMN: Recent Boeing 737 crash has me nervous about flying

Both Air Canada and WestJest will continue to use the planes after the Ethiopian crash

How long will it take to investigate what caused the most recent Boeing 737 Max 8 crash?

That’s what I want to know, as I — along with many other Canadians — search my upcoming flight to see if I’m on that aircraft.

In less than six months there have been two catastrophic crashes involving Boeing 737s leaving 157 dead in Ethiopia, including 18 Canadians, and 189 dead in Indonesia.

While none of the Canadian authorities want to jump to conclusions, it’s hard not to as a passenger.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau said it’s too early to jump to conclusions and too early to ground all 41 planes used by Canadian airlines.

Flying out of Prince Rupert, Air Canada is your only option, and from Terrace you also have WestJest as an option. Both of these airlines fly routes with the Boeing 737 Max 8. Both companies are also “confident in the safety” of their Boeing 737 fleet.

READ MORE: Growing number of Boeing Max 8 planes grounded after crash

I’m not so confident, but then again I always get a bit skittish before I fly — I don’t think I’m the only one.

The Max 8 is used to carry passengers on Air Canada’s Vancouver to Montreal route, a journey I’m taking all too soon. If I’m on that aircraft, do I try to change my dates?

It also makes me nervous that Ethiopian Airlines, and airlines in China and Indonesia have grounded their Boeing 737 Max 8 planes indefinitely. Chinese authorities said they have “zero tolerance for security risks.” Amen. The U.K. banned the Boeing 737 from its airspace a day later.

Then I think of the Canadians who perished in the most recent crash — K’ómoks First Nation’s Micah Messent, who was flying to a UN Environment Assembly session, and Carleton University’s African studies professor, Pius Adesanmi from Ottawa.

Why are we risking a wait-and-see approach while we continue to fly the Max 8 in Canada?

Then I see that I’ll be on Air Canada’s Boeing 777 and the Airbus A320, and I breathe a sigh of relief.

READ MORE: Canada bans Boeing 737 Max 8 plane following fatal Ethiopian crash

Since publishing this article in print, Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced on March 13, that Canada will also ground its Boeing 737 Max 8 jets. The U.S. followed suit hours after.


Shannon Lough | Editor
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