Sunwing Airlines announced Tuesday night that all flights on their Boeing 737 Max 8 planes are officially being suspended until further notice. The decision has made Sunwing the first Canadian airline to ground the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft in the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday, in which 18 Canadians were killed.
"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 four Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft," the airline wrote in their statement.
"We are in the process of revising our flying schedule to accommodate the temporary removal of our MAX aircraft from service and we appreciate the patience of our retail partners and customers while we work to communicate these updates.”
The Boeing model in question has already been grounded by multiple major airlines worldwide, in compliance with a grounding order from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). CP24 reports that nearly all 390 of the Max 8 planes around the world have been pulled from flight schedules.
The Ethiopian Airlines tragedy is the second time that a Boeing 737 Max 8 has been involved in a deadly crash. Last October, all 189 passengers on board a Max 8 on Indonesia's Lion Air plane were killed.
Major Canadian airlines, including Air Canada and WestJet, have both stated that they're confident in their Max 8 planes and will not be grounding them at this time - to the dismay of many Canadian passengers. Flight Centre travel agency confirmed to CP24 that Canada's major airlines are not compensating passengers for fees associated with changing or cancelling flights. As of right now, Canadians set to fly on a Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft on either of these airlines will depart as scheduled.
Canada's Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau will be commenting on the Boeing aircraft in Ottawa later this morning.