Grounded Max 8's causing headaches for travellers

Boeing's 737 Max 8's and 9's are now grounded in Canada and the U-S. 

The moves come amid safety concerns arising from the Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday that killed everyone on board, including 18 Canadians. The same type of plane was also involved in a Lion Air crash off the coast of Indonesia in October.

Kelowna airport director Sam Sammadar says the order does impact the airlines that fly in and out of YLW. 

"We are in Ontario spring break, and we're also heading into BC spring break this coming week, so the timing isn't the greatest, but what the airlines will be working towards is reworking some of their network schedules and moving some of their aircraft assets around," he says.

Sammadar says Westjet and Sunwing are swapping in other aircraft to replace the Max 8's, and according to a Canadian Press report Thursday morning, Air Canada's customer service line is so swamped with travellers trying to rebook flights, they can't even place people on hold. Passengers are being directed to Air Canada's website. 

Sammadar says despite the frustrations facing air travellers now, it was prudent to ground the Max 8's.

"We're all in the safety business and we want to make sure people get home and to their destinations safely. It's important that we find out what's happened here, and really produce a better and safer system," he says.

The Canadian Press reports that the flight recorders from the Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed Sunday arrived in France today for analysis. The CEO of Ethiopian Airlines says its pilots received special training after a Lion Air Boeing 7-37 Max 8 crashed last October.

Sensors on that plane produced erroneous information on its last four flights, triggering an automatic nose-down command that the pilots were unable to overcome on its final flight. 

In Kelowna, Sammadar says two Max 8's are currently parked at the airport waiting for repairs, which will be conducted by Kelowna's K-F Aerospace. It has a maintenance contract with Westjet.