Transport Minister Marc Garneau speaks during a news conference in Ottawa, Wednesday March 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Garneau calls for flight simulators before Max 8s can return to Canadian skies

Transport Minister closed Canadian skies to the Max 8 last month over safety concerns

Transport Minister Marc Garneau says airlines hoping to fly the Boeing 737 Max 8 in Canadian airspace must first train their pilots using a flight simulator.

The call goes further than recommendations from U.S. regulators as training procedures for the grounded plane come under continued scrutiny following two deadly crashes.

READ MORE: Garneau to update Canada’s position on Boeing 737 Max 8 as pressure mounts

“Simulators are the very best way, from a training point of view, to go over exactly what could happen in a real way and to react properly to it,” Garneau said.

“It’s part of it — the software fixes…and the training itself, which in my mind requires simulation time,” he said at an event in Montreal Wednesday.

Garneau’s comments highlight the potential hurdles to landing on a common set of standards and getting the Max 8 back into the air.

Until recently, most U.S. airlines did not require flight simulation for pilots of the Max 8, which aviation authorities across the globe grounded in the wake of the deadly Ethiopian Airlines tragedy on March 10. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that American Airlines will start to use flight simulators, a significant shift.

“As a result of the continuing investigation into both aircraft accidents, we are looking at the potential for additional training opportunities in co-ordination with the FAA and Allied Pilots Association,” American Airlines said in an email Wednesday.

On Tuesday, however, a panel appointed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said pilots will not need new training on flight simulators to learn how to operate the Boeing jet. The group said in a draft report that computer and classroom instruction about new anti-stall software should be adequate for pilots who have flown earlier versions of the 737.

Garneau said he feels “strongly about simulators,” stressing their effectiveness and drawing on his experience as an astronaut.

“From our point of view, it’s not going to be a question of pulling out an iPad and spending an hour on it,” he added, referencing an American Airlines pilots union statement that pilots who were already qualified for Boeing 737-800s took a one-hour, iPad-based training program to fly the Max 8.

Garneau closed Canadian skies to the Max 8 last month over safety concerns arising from the erratic flight path of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 that bore startling parallels to a fatal Lion Air crash off the coast of Indonesia on Oct. 29.

The two flights, both on Max 8s, killed a total of 346 people, including 18 Canadians on board the Ethiopian Airlines flight.

The global grounding of more than 375 Max 8s has impacted scores of airlines, including Air Canada, WestJet Airlines Inc. and Sunwing Airlines Inc.

Air Canada — where 24 Max 8s make up about 10 per cent of its main 243-plane fleet — froze its sunny 2019 financial guidance last month “in light of the current uncertainty.” Older replacement aircraft such as the Airbus A320 are not as fuel efficient and others can only avoid maintenance for so long before heading back to the hangar, further reducing capacity.

Garneau’s remarks came after an announcement highlighting new incentives to buy electric cars.

Starting next month, Canadians who buy or lease an eligible electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicle will get $5,000 off the purchase, Garneau said. Shorter-range plug-in hybrid cars come with a $2,500 incentive.

The minister said Transport Canada is working out the logistics of the discount “at lightning speed,” with plans on how to dole it out still uncertain as the clock ticks down to May 1.

The 2019 budget set aside $300 million for the federal purchase incentive.

Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Mountain Pineapple defers application for new cannabis store in Rossland

The application was originally going to be reviewed by city council on May 19

Morning start: Rossland is named after this person

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Friday, May 22

Snow expected to hit West Kootenay passes overnight on Thursday

Up to 15 cm of snow could fall on Highway 3 between Paulson summit to Kootenay Pass by Friday morning

Fact: B.C. bats don’t carry or spread COVID

BC Annual Bat Count goes this summer, citizens encouraged to take part

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Most Read