The option was given following the second fatal crash of a B737 Max-8 jet in six months
Air Canada flight attendants who are concerned about flying on a Boeing 737 Max aircraft may ask to be reassigned, according to the union representing the airline workers.
The option was given following the fatal crash of a 737 Max-8 jet operated by Ethiopian Airlines, which killed all 149 passengers and eight crew members six minutes after take-off on Sunday.
Air Canada remains one of a few North American carriers that still fly the 737 aircraft in the immediate aftermath of the second aviation disaster involving the Max-8 model. The airline operates 24 of these jets.
The Air Canada component of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has called on the company to prioritise the safety of Air Canada passengers and flight crew.
Union leader Wesley Lesosky urged the airline to “at a minimum continue to offer reassignment to crew members who do not want to fly on this type of airplane,” the Associated Press reported.
Boeing said in a statement: “The 737 Max is a safe airplane that was designed, built and supported by our skilled employees who approach their work with the utmost integrity.”
The Air Canada Pilots Association, meanwhile, prompted Transport Minister Marc Garneau to assure the public of the aircraft’s safety.
Garneau told the media he would board the 737 Max “without hesitation,” but that all angles of the plane crash were being considered.
WestJet, on the other hand, said it “remains confident” in the safety and condition of its Boeing 737s and plans to continue operating its fleet.
“We have flown five different variants of the Boeing 737 since 1996, and the fleet currently operates around 450 safe daily B737 departures,” WestJet said in a statement.
The CUPE group advocating for WestJet employees said it is coordinating closely with the Canadian airline.