Crash victims’ families told approval of 737 Max by Transport Canada looks ‘imminent’

OTTAWA — The father of a young woman who died in the Boeing 737 Max crash last year says federal officials told victims’ families approval of the beleaguered aircraft is “imminent.”

Transport Canada’s head of civil aviation informed family members in a virtual meeting Wednesday the department is on the cusp of validating changes to the plane — already cleared for takeoff in the United States — said Chris Moore, who lost his 24-year-old daughter Danielle in the tragedy.

The Max has been grounded in Canada since March 2019, when Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 plummeted to the ground six minutes after taking off from Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people on board in the second of two Max crashes less than five months apart.

Moore said he is concerned the review processes that led regulators to green-light a fatally defective plane remain in place.

“They basically said they have one or two minor things to go over,” Moore told The Canadian Press on Wednesday. “But we still don’t know exactly how they’re going to reform the way that they validate these airplanes.”

Transport Canada has spent months poring over changes made to the Max, which contained critical flaws in its anti-stall system that could plunge it into a nosedive if a sensor failed.

Departmental approval would be the first step on the path back to the runway, a process that would not wrap up before January, said Amy Butcher, a spokeswoman for Transport Minister Marc Garneau.

The initial validation stage is expected “to conclude very soon,” she said in an email, noting that Canadian operating requirements will differ from those issued by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

“These differences will include additional procedures on the flight deck and pre-flight, as well as differences in training.”

Following the first 737 Max crash in October 2018, which killed 189 people aboard Lion Air Flight 610 off the coast of Indonesia, the FAA conducted a study that found more crashes could occur as a result of faulty stabilizing software. It sent preliminary results of the risk analysis to Transport Canada.

The department has not disclosed what precisely the preliminary report revealed, why it did not ground the plane or the reason it only obtained the full analysis after the second disaster 19 weeks later.

Moore and other family members have called for a public inquiry into Transport Canada’s validation of the Max, which New Democrat MP Taylor Bachrach proposed last month in a motion to the House transport committee. The motion was voted down 9-2.

“I think Transport Canada failed. After the first crash they should have grounded that plane in Canada, which would cause other agencies to follow suit,” Moore said Wednesday.

“I am channelling my daughter’s energies and passions and her sense of justice,” he said.

“She couldn’t stay still. She was a beautiful girl.”

In a three-and-a-half-hour meeting Wednesday afternoon, three Transport Canada officials — director general of civil aviation Nicholas Robinson, director of aircraft certification David Turnbull, and a test pilot — assured about 10 of the victims’ family members that the validation process would thoroughly scrutinize changes to updated aircraft, Moore said.

A complex return-to-service plan would follow validation, and involve training and maintenance instructions for planes that have languished unused for 20 months, Butcher said in her email. It would also include an “airworthiness directive,” which would notify operators that certain defects must be corrected before the aircraft can fly again.

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

Just Posted

Chris Scott, owner of The Whistle Stop Cafe, was put in handcuffs after an anti-restriction protest Saturday in the parking lot of the business. (Screenshot via The Whistle Stop Facebook page)
UPDATE: Central Alberta cafe owner arrested after anti-restriction protest

The owner of a central Alberta cafe, which was the site of… Continue reading

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer now has 911 active COVID-19 cases

Central zone has 2,917 active cases

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre's expansion project is still a high priority, says Alberta Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer hospital ICU admissions stable, but rising, says surgeon

The Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre’s intensive care unit is in better… Continue reading

Alberta recorded a single-day record of over 57,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered. (Photo courtesy Alberta Health Services Twitter)
Alberta hits daily record of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered

Central zone has administered 111,735 doses of the COVID-19

FILE - A firefighter wears a mask as he drives his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward, File
VIDEO: Flames rip through Edmonton-area seniors complex, but no fatalities

ST. ALBERT, Alta. — Fire has destroyed part of a retirement complex… Continue reading

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, is setting off a social media reaction with his calls to stop non essential shopping, such as "buying sandals at Costco", with this photo of his worn sandals, which he published to social media on Saturday, May 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Dr. Robert Strang, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Nova Scotia’s top doctor sparks meme with caution on non-essential shopping

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s top doctor has launched a social media meme… Continue reading

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. Canada's chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Tam warns that full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Canada’s chief public health officer reminded Canadians on Saturday that even those… Continue reading

Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour conducts drills during NHL hockey training camp in Morrisville, N.C., Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
NHL relaxing virus protocols for vaccinated playoff teams

The NHL is relaxing virus protocols for teams that reach a threshold… Continue reading

Canada skip Kerri Einarson directs her teammates against Sweden in a qualification game at the Women's World Curling Championship in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, May 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Canada’s Einarson eliminated at curling worlds after 8-3 loss to Sweden’s Hasselborg

CALGARY — Canada’s Kerri Einarson was eliminated at the world women’s curling… Continue reading

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman didn’t expect to get hit with a double whammy at… Continue reading

A courtroom at the Edmonton Law Courts building, in Edmonton on Friday, June 28, 2019. The effect of the coronavirus pandemic will have a lasting impact on the Canadian justice system warn a number of legal experts. The Alberta Court of Queen's Bench announced Sunday it would adjourn all scheduled trials across the province for at least 10-weeks limiting hearings to only emergency or urgent matters. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton mother found guilty of manslaughter in death of five-year-old girl

EDMONTON — An Edmonton woman was found guilty Friday of manslaughter in… Continue reading

A Statistics Canada 2016 Census mailer sits on the key board of a laptop after arriving in the mail at a residence in Ottawa, May 2, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Statistics Canada sees more demand to fill out census online during pandemic

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says the response to the census is higher… Continue reading

Travellers, who are not affected by new quarantine rules, arrive at Terminal 3 at Pearson Airport in Toronto, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. Ottawa will create a new digital platform to help in processing immigration applications more quickly and efficiently after COVID-19 pandemic underscored the need for a faster shift to a digital immigration system, the immigration department said. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ottawa to create new system to tackle delays in processing immigration applications

Ottawa says it will create a new digital platform to help process… Continue reading

Most Read