Boeing’s misery deepened yet further today as Canadian authorities joined others around the globe in banning its latest jet model from their airspace.
The move heaps yet more pressure on US regulators to ban Boeing’s new 737 Max range after it suffered its second fatal crash in five months on Sunday.
Transport Canada joined regulators across Europe, China, Australia and Singapore in barring the jet from going in or out of its airspace after an Ethiopian Airlines plane plunged to the ground on Sunday, killing all 157 people on board.
An identical model operated by Indonesia’s Lion Air also crashed in October, shortly after it took off from Jakarta, killing all 189 passengers and crew.
There has been no information yet to link the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines incidents, but Boeing’s market value has fallen billions of dollars this week, as concerns grow that both crashes were down to one – as-yet unidentified – operational defect.
Canada’s transport minister Marc Garneau said it is “too soon to speculate” as to the reason for the crashes, but said the ban would remain until further notice.
The decision draws renewed attention to the close ties between Boeing and the Trump administration, as the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) digs its heels in on still letting the jets fly. This comes despite all other major aviation authorities imposing a ban.
President Donald Trump has close relationships with Boeing executives, and chief executive Dennis Muilenburg personally called him on Tuesday to reassure him the plane was safe. Hours after the call, the FAA insisted it was confident in the planes.
#737MAX flights today at 14:00UTC vs. same time last week.— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) March 13, 2019
Flight over Europe is a Smartwings positioning flight. Flight over Asia is Thai Lion Air.
Our accounting of groundings/restrictions and a live map of all MAX flights at https://t.co/CaLwcGTAur pic.twitter.com/qcg3VsHugv
Furthermore, before joining the Pentagon, acting defence secretary Patrick Shanahan, who is expected to be named to the post, worked for 31 years at Boeing.
Michael Hewson, analyst at CMC Markets, said it is "puzzling that the FAA should be so dogmatic". He told City A.M.: “This looks incredibly bad that the FAA is going against every other aviation authority in the world.
“It raises some significant questions… over whether there are politics going on in the background.
“If that is true it really does call into question the independence of the FAA. What is stopping the them from being cautious when it comes to passenger safety?”