Canada makes u-turn, grounds Boeing 737 MAX 8 after Ethiopian Airlines crash

Canada is joining the growing swell of countries grounding Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 jets after a deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash over the weekend.

That crash marked the second catastrophic incident involving the model of airplane in six months and prompted a wave of countries to ground the fleets, including the U.K., China, Australia, Singapore, India, South Korea, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates and others.

The European Union also banned the jets from flying in European airspace.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau had maintained earlier this week that Canada would not ground the jets because the cause of the Ethiopian Air crash, which killed 157 people including 18 Canadians, is not yet clear.

He reversed that position on Wednesday.

Garneau told reporters gathered in Ottawa that the decision to issue a safety notice banning the aircraft from taking off, landing or flying over Canadian airspace comes as a result of “new data” received by Canadian officials Wednesday morning.

“There can’t be any Max 8 or Max 9 flying into, out of or across Canada, so that obviously affects the Canadian Max 8s that are owned by Air Canada, West Jet and Sunwing that own aircraft but also have implications on airlines outside the country,” Garneau said.

Garneau said new data obtained via satellite monitoring Wednesday morning suggested similarities between the Ethiopian Airlines crash and the Lion Air crash that crashed shortly after takeover into the Java Sea six months ago, killing 189 people, that “exceed a certain threshold in our minds” and that the decision to ground the fleets comes as a direct result of that.

He added that Canadian officials notified the Americans on Wednesday morning and continue to work closely with the teams investigating the crash.

He also said there was no “push back” from any of the three Canadian airlines that operate the aircraft model.

“They recognize the importance of safety,” he said.

Garneau noted “there is some disruption” as a result of the decision on airline operations but that safety is the “paramount” concern.

“For the moment, caution has to dominate,” he said.

Canada not grounding Boeing 737 MAX 8 after deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash

Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau says Canada will not order its airlines to ground their Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes after one of the aircraft crashed in Ethiopia, killing all 157 people on board, including 18 Canadians.

Garneau said it was important “we don’t jump to conclusions,” as investigators are still working to determine what led to the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines jet shortly after it took off from Addis Ababa on Sunday.

“We are being very proactive right now,” Garneau told reporters in Montreal on Monday. “I was in touch with the secretary of transport in the United states. My colleagues at Transport Canada are working with the Federal Aviation Authority.”

Aviation authorities in China, Indonesia and Ethiopia ordered airlines on Monday to ground their Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes, while Cayman Airways said it was temporarily grounding the two Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft it operates.

Air Canada has 24 Boeing 737 MAX 8s, WestJet Airlines Ltd. has 13 and Sunwing Airlines flies four MAX 8s, according to Transport Canada’s civil aircraft register.

United States citizens will need a visa to visit Europe starting in 2021

The European Union announced on Friday that American travelers will need a new type of visa — a European Travel Information and Authorization System or ETIAS — to visit the European Schengen Area.

The Schengen Area is a zone of 26 European countries that do not have internal borders and allow people to move between them freely, including countries like Spain, France, Greece, Germany, Italy and Poland.
Currently, US citizens can travel to Europe for up to 90 days without a visa.

To apply for the ETIAS, US citizens will need a valid passport, an email account and a credit or debit card, the EU said. Minors, the website said, will still only need their normal passports to travel after the visas go into effect.

The Union said that the ETIAS visa is valid for three years and allows Americans to enter the Schengen Area as many times as necessary.

On the ETIAS website, the European Union said it “has recently decided to improve their security level to avoid any further problems with illegal migration and terrorism.”

The United States has been in a dispute with the EU’s European Parliament and European Commission over visas for Bulgaria, Croatia, Poland, Romania and Cyprus. Travelers in those five countries are the only EU nations that the US requires to apply for a visa.

In 2016, the European Commission first released a report calling for the U.S. to grant the same visa-free status to those five countries as the other 23 EU nations in exchange for U.S. citizens maintaining the same visa-free status in the Schengen Area. EU rules require equal treatment for all member states.

The report also indicated, however, that the commission wanted to wait until after President Trump was in office to “push for full visa reciprocity.”

In June 2018, the Parliament voted in favor of the Commission imposing visas on US citizens.

CREDIT: Lauren M. Johnson and Madeline Holcombe, CNN