You’ve heard the devastating news by now about the fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed all 157 lives on board. The plane, a Boeing 737 Max 8, was the second of its type to crash in less than 6 months which of course has caused some concern as this model was only released in May 2017. Since then, many countries have banned them from their airspace and many airlines have grounded them from their fleet. So what does this mean for you, our travellers?
Sunwing is the first Canadian airline to ground the Max 8. They had 4 in their fleet, and after speaking to Nadia, a representative from Sunwing, she informed me that all 4 flew out of Vancouver and they are currently rearranging their flight schedule to accommodate the changes. Since this model only comprises of less than 10% of its fleet, it should not cause any major changes or delays to already planned travel. Should your flight be affected, you will receive a notification from Sunwing or your travel agent will receive the notification and will advise you on your options.
What other airlines in Canada fly these models? Air Canada has the most in Canada with 24, WestJet has 13 and then the 4 that have been grounded with Sunwing complete the list of 41 Boeing 737 Max 8s in Canada. Most of these planes are used for domestic runs within Canada or to the United States and since neither country has ban the planes from their airspace nor grounded the planes from their fleets, this should not have an impact on travel for most Canadians.
But the biggest impact is how people now feel about flying on these aircraft models due to the recent crash & bans taking place. So what can be done? Many credit cards offer cancellation insurance so if you purchased your flight with a credit card, check with your card and you may be entitled to a refund should you choose to cancel your flight due to the latest news. If you purchased insurance through your travel agent, you may also be eligible to cancel for full refund depending on the type of policy you purchased. Our Premium Protection Plan through Manulife is the best coverage you can get and would give you the protection you need in situations like this.
How does this affect travellers that are on international flights? 40% of the world’s Boeing 787 Max 8 flights have been grounded now due to many civil aviation authority bans and airlines grounding the planes from their fleet. So far, a number of Air Canada flights from Halifax and St. John’s heading to Europe had to be canceled due to the ban. Air Canada is currently rebooking clients through connecting flights in Montreal and Toronto that use different aircraft models. Should you experience any delays and you do have travel delay/interruption insurance, be sure to save all your receipts and documents to be able to submit a claim for reimbursement. The airlines are following protocol with their fleet and moving schedules and planes around so over the coming days there should be less of a chance of cancelled flights or interruptions. If the Canadian or USA Aviation authorities decide to ban the plane from our airspace then that will become more of a problem so keep your eye on the news and contact your travel agent for updates.
Boeing has taken an 11.15% drop in shares since the crash, that translates to a decrease of US $26.65 Billion in market value, so they are certainly going to take this issue seriously. So far, they have not found one common factor that could be to blame in both crashes but the investigation with the Ethiopian Airlines crash is still underway and we hope to have answers soon. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who lost family members in these plane crashes and we hope you find some way to heal.
If you have any questions regarding these planes, the flights affected, or anything else at all, don’t hesitate to contact our office at 506.778.8345, or toll free at 888.236.2747. You can also email the agency at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website to book all your travel needs at www.marlintravel.ca/1600
UPDATE: BREAKING NEWS
As of 1pm Atlantic time, March 13th, 2019, Canada has now joined the long lost of countries worldwide to ban the Boeing 737 Max 8 from our airspace. All 41 Max 8 planes in Canada have been grounded.