Flight attendants demand a say before Max returns to skies

An Air Canada Boeing 737 Max 8 departs Vancouver International Airport in February. (photo: Brett Ballah).

The union representing the majority of Canada’s flight attendants is demanding to be consulted before the Boeing 737 Max is allowed to return to the country’s skies.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees says its members are standing with their counterparts in the United States who have expressed concerns over the safety of the Max.

The airplane was grounded around the world after a pair of fatal accidents less than five months apart in 2018. Investigators have highlighted the role of a Boeing-produced flight software called MCAS in the crashes.

In Canada, Air Canada, Westjet, and Sunwing operated Max aircraft and have had to juggle their schedules in the wake of the crisis. Air Canada reported this month the Max grounding hurt its business, despite posting impressive financial results for the summer months. Canada’s largest airline has removed the Max from its schedule until February 14, 2020.

“The safety of passengers and crew must always come first,” said CUPE in a statement.

“The federal government’s decision to ground the Boeing 737 Max in Canada was the right thing to do. Given the record of Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration in that file, it will now be up to Transport Canada to provide assurances that these aircraft are fully compliant and safe for our members and the travelling public.”

CUPE represents more than 13,000 flight attendants at Air Canada, Westjet, Swoop, and Sunwing.

“We need access to all the information required to assess the safety of these aircraft. The highest possible safety standards will be called for to avoid another tragedy. Simply stating these aircraft are safe does not make it so.”

Categories: Safety