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Canada keeps Boeing 737 Max grounded, despite U.S. approval

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  • Marc Garneau
    Canadian astronaut and politician

While the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has allowed the Boeing 737 Max to return to service, the aircraft remains grounded in Canada.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau said in a statement released Wednesday that the flight restrictions on the Boeing 737 Max aircraft remain in effect, “and will not be lifted until the department is fully satisfied that all its safety concerns have been addressed, and that enhanced flight crew procedures and training are in place."

Transport Canada’s safety experts continue their independent validation process, Garneau said, to determine whether to approve the proposed safety changes to the aircraft. He expects Transport Canada’s process to conclude very soon.

“However, there will be differences between what the FAA has approved today, and what Canada will require for its operators,” Garneau said.

“These differences will include additional procedures on the flight deck and pre-flight, as well as differences in training.”

On Wednesday, the U.S. FAA chief Steve Dickson signed an order allowing the best-selling plane to resume flights after it was grounded in March 2019. The order will end the longest grounding in commercial aviation history and paves the way for Boeing to resume U.S. deliveries and commercial flights by the end of the year.

Canada joined the U.S. and grounded the Boeing Max 8 and Max 9 aircraft last March, days after an Ethiopian Airlines crash killed 157 people. The safety notice grounded all Boeing Max 8s flown by Canadian airlines, including 24 jets belonging to Air Canada, 13 to WestJet and four to Sunwing Airlines.

The FAA is requiring new training to deal with a key safety system called MCAS that is faulted for the two fatal crashes, as well as significant new safeguards and other software changes.

"I feel 100% confident," Dickson told Reuters.

With files from Reuters

Alicja Siekierska is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow her on Twitter @alicjawithaj.

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