November 14, 2019

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Plane crash victim's friends call on Canadian government to ground ill-fated aircraft until further review

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/3/2019 (247 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/3/2019 (247 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

In the midst of inconsolable grief, the friends of Danielle Moore — the 24-year-old Winnipeg woman killed in Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 plane crash — are attempting to pressure Canada into joining a growing list of countries grounding or banning Boeing’s 737 Max 8 aircraft.

Moore, originally from Scarborough, Ont., was travelling on the plane to Nairobi, Kenya, to participate in the United Nations Environment Assembly. (Facebook photo)</p>

Moore, originally from Scarborough, Ont., was travelling on the plane to Nairobi, Kenya, to participate in the United Nations Environment Assembly. (Facebook photo)

"It’s baffling to me that an industry that prides itself on its safety record doesn’t want to take action on two planes, brand new planes, going down within six months of each other," said Kellen Deighton, whose brother – Colby Deighton – was Moore’s long-term boyfriend.

"My brother is incapacitated physically right now. I’ve never seen a man so broken. The first few days have been spent trying to console him, but now we want try to do something to get Canada to take this problem seriously."

The Ethiopian Airlines crash, which killed all 157 people on board, including 18 Canadians, has led to mounting concerns over similarities to the Lion Air crash in Indonesia that killed 189 people last October.

An Air Canada Boeing 737 Max aircraft arriving from Toronto prepares to land at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Air Canada cancelled London-bound flights from Halifax and St. John's Tuesday and Wednesday after the United Kingdom banned all Boeing Max 8 jets in its airspace. (Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press)</p>

An Air Canada Boeing 737 Max aircraft arriving from Toronto prepares to land at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Air Canada cancelled London-bound flights from Halifax and St. John's Tuesday and Wednesday after the United Kingdom banned all Boeing Max 8 jets in its airspace. (Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press)

The Lion Air incident also involved a Boeing 737 Max 8 crashing shortly after takeoff in clear flying conditions. Now authorities from the U.K, France, Germany, China and Australia, among other countries, have begun to act, ordering bans or groundings of the jetliner until further notice.

Canada’s Transport Minister Marc Garneau spent Tuesday meeting with experts and soliciting advice on how to deal with the mounting concern. He said Tuesday he had no plans to ground Canada’s fleet of 737 Max 8 aircrafts, but maintained "all options are on the table."

Boeing 737s continue to fly Canadian skies

MONTREAL - Transport Minister Marc Garneau faced an escalating dilemma Tuesday over Boeing's 737 Max 8 aircraft, which a growing number of countries have grounded or banned in the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people Sunday.

MONTREAL - Transport Minister Marc Garneau faced an escalating dilemma Tuesday over Boeing's 737 Max 8 aircraft, which a growing number of countries have grounded or banned in the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people Sunday.

The 737 Max 8 continues to fly in North American skies, but is grounded in the European Union as well as Australia, China and other states following the tragedy.

Before clearing his schedule to meet with experts, Garneau said Tuesday he has no plans to ground Canada's fleet of 737 Max 8 aircraft, but that "all options are on the table."

"That could include grounding the planes, but at the same time I will evaluate all possibilities and not jump to conclusions before we can clearly evaluate the situation," Garneau said.

By Tuesday evening, 34 airlines had grounded the Max 8, leaving the majority of the nearly 390 Max 8s currently in service around the world confined to the hangar.

Air Canada, along with Southwest and American Airlines, are the major outliers.

The union for Air Canada flight attendants says the company is allowing flight attendants who don't want to fly on Boeing 737 Max airplanes to be reassigned. The Canadian Union of Public Employees issued a statement Tuesday asking the company to put the safety of passengers and crew first.

Air Canada did not respond to a request for comment by time of publication.

"We continue to monitor the situation and based on current info, and recommendations by government safety regulators, Transport Canada, the FAA, and the manufacturer, we will continue to operate our normal B737 schedule and our current re-booking policies remain in place," Air Canada said in a tweet Tuesday.

-The Canadian Press

"Not only have we been dealing with the tragedy of Danielle’s death, but also the horrible and negligent response from the Canadian government and also Air Canada and WestJet," said Iain Coates, who was a friend of Moore’s.

"It almost feels as if people are behaving as though this tragedy didn’t happen. I know I’m sensitive to this because I have a personal connection to it, but Canadian citizens died and it seems like there are pretty straightforward steps they could take to make sure no more Canadians die."

Air Canada has 24 Max 8 aircrafts, while WestJet has 13 Max 8 planes in its fleet. Sunwing Airlines has an additional four Max 8 planes.

Given the prospect of 737 Max 8 model continuing to fly Canadian skies, Deighton said he and other friends of Moore feel the need to act.

"I’m not a terribly political person, but in all of this I just keep thinking about Danielle. She was the type of woman that if she had an opinion about something, she was going to hit the ground running the next day to make something happen," Deighton said.

"She was a dreamer, but she also had drive. I keep thinking about her and am trying to bring the same energy and drive that she would have."

The group of Moore’s friends have begun reaching out to as many local politicians as they can, including MPs Robert-Falcon Ouellete and Jim Carr, both who represent the federal Liberals in Winnipeg. The group also started a Twitter account to try to raise awareness about the issue.

Ethiopian Airlines had issued no new updates on the crash as of late afternoon Tuesday as families around the world waited for answers, while a global team of investigators began picking through the rural crash site. (Mulugeta Ayene / The Associated Press)</p>

Ethiopian Airlines had issued no new updates on the crash as of late afternoon Tuesday as families around the world waited for answers, while a global team of investigators began picking through the rural crash site. (Mulugeta Ayene / The Associated Press)

Ultimately, the group is hoping they may find a way to speak to Minister Garneau and express their concerns with Canada’s decision not to ground 737 Max 8 planes until an investigation can be completed into what – if any – issues the model has.

"I don’t claim to be an aviation expert, obviously. I know there are financial aspects to this. But the idea of profit over people is baffling to me," Deighton said.

"Minister Garneau said, ‘We’re not going to take any action until we have concrete evidence of what the issue is.’ That seems totally backwards to me, a full-180."

At the very least, the group hopes Canadian airlines will offer fee cancellations to customers who are scheduled to fly on a 737 Max 8, but don’t feel comfortable doing so, Coates said. Flight Centre travel agency has said Canadian airlines will not waive such fees.

The Boeing logo appears above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Shares in the aircraft maker fell Tuesday amid safety concerns following another deadly crash involving its most popular plane. (Richard Drew / The Associated Press)</p>

The Boeing logo appears above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Shares in the aircraft maker fell Tuesday amid safety concerns following another deadly crash involving its most popular plane. (Richard Drew / The Associated Press)

"I think grounding the planes immediately would be the correct first step, because ignoring the severity of the safety concerns seems wholly inappropriate," Coates said.

"Some accommodations from the airlines would also be great. Allowing flyers the ability to reschedule or choose another flight without fees, allowing them to take safety into their own hands, would be a compassionate response."

Moore, originally from Scarborough, Ont., was a devoted environmental and human rights activist who had been en route to Nairobi, Kenya, to participate in the prestigious United Nation Environment Assembly, at the time of the crash.

— With files from the Canadian Press

ryan.thorpe@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @rk_thorpe

Ryan Thorpe

Ryan Thorpe
Reporter

Ryan Thorpe likes the pace of daily news, the feeling of a broadsheet in his hands and the stress of never-ending deadlines hanging over his head.

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