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Sunwing grounds Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes, citing airspace restrictions

Last Updated Mar 13, 2019 at 8:42 am PDT

Summary

Sunwing is grounding its four Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes

The company cites airspace restrictions, rather than safety concerns, as the reason

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Sunwing has joined the long list of airlines grounding their Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplanes in the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday.

In a Twitter post Tuesday night, the company said the decision doesn’t relate to safety, but has to do with how many places the MAX 8 now can’t fly because of airspace restrictions.

“For evolving commercial reasons unrelated to safety including airspace restrictions being imposed by some of our partner destinations, Sunwing Airlines has taken the decision to temporarily suspend the operations of our 4 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft,” the statement read.

This makes Sunwing the first Canadian airline to park the jet. Air Canada and WestJet also fly the new Boeing model, but are continuing to keep the plane in service. There are a total of 37 MAX 8 planes in the airlines’ fleets.

China and the European Union have banned the aircraft from their airspace, and multiple airlines around the world have grounded the model.

U.S. and Canadian aviation regulators have been resisting calls for grounding the plane, though, saying it’s too early in the investigation.

RELATED: ‘All options on the table’, but no plans to ground 737 Max 8 in Canada: Garneau

The Ethiopian Airlines crash, which killed all 157 people on board – including 18 Canadians – has raised concerns over parallels to a Lion Air crash of the same model of aircraft in Indonesia that killed 189 people last October.

Aviation experts continue to investigate Sunday’s crash, and the cause has not yet been determined.

Canada’s Transport Minister, Marc Garneau said Tuesday that he has no plans to ground Canada’s fleet of 737 Max 8 aircraft, but that “all options are on the table”.

With files from the Canadian Press.