Three of Canada’s major airlines confirmed to CTV News they do not have Boeing 737 MAX 9 planes in their fleet. The aircraft model has been temporarily grounded by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) after an Alaska Airlines flight was forced to perform an emergency landing when the jetliner blew out a window and a portion of its fuselage shortly after takeoff Friday.
“Air Canada has only the Boeing 737-8 version of the MAX aircraft in its fleet. We have 40 of these aircraft and they have performed very reliably with an excellent safety record,” a spokesperson for Air Canada told CTV News. “The mid-cabin exit door configuration only applies to the 737 MAX 9, and is not present on our 737 MAX 8.”
WestJet echoed those words in their own statement.
“I can confirm that WestJet does not operate any MAX 9 aircraft and that the MAX 8 we do operate does not have the same door in question with this event,” a spokesperson for the airline told CTV News. “WestJet remains in constant communication with the manufacturer and regulator to ensure that there are no specific impacts to the MAX 8 fleet.”
Air Transat also confirmed to CTV News that the Boeing 737 MAX 9 airplanes are not part of its fleet.
FAA administrator Mike Whitaker said the agency is requiring immediate inspections of certain planes before they can return to flight. The order impacts 171 airplanes worldwide.
When the Alaska Airlines jetliner blew out a window and a portion of its fuselage shortly after takeoff nearly five kilometres above Oregon Friday, it created a gaping hole in the plane and forced the pilots to make an emergency landing as its 174 passengers and six crew members donned oxygen masks.
“You heard a big loud bang to the left rear. A whooshing sound and all the oxygen masks deployed instantly and everyone got those on,” passenger Evan Smith told KATU-TV.
Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci said the inspection of the company 737-9 fleet aircraft could take days to complete. They make up a fifth of the company’s 314 planes. It wasn’t immediately known Saturday how that would affect the company’s flight schedule.
“We are working with Boeing and regulators to understand what occurred … and will share updates as more information is available,” Minicucci said. “My heart goes out to those who were on this flight – I am so sorry for what you experienced.”
With files from Reuters and The Associated Press
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