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Transport Minister Marc Garneau was supposed to have a news conference about the Boeing 737 Max 8 issue at 11 am ET. That's now been moved to 11:30 am ET, with the possibility of a further delay. We'll carry it live here: cbc.ca/1.5054234
Canada has so far decided not to ground the Boeing jets, despite the U.K., European Union, Australia and dozens of other countries suspending them from their airspace after 2 fatal crashes within the last 5 months. The U.S. is also allowing the airliners to continue to fly.
Update: Marc Garneau's news conference is now scheduled for 11:45 am ET.
Update: The news conference is starting now.
Transport Minister Marc Garneau starts by saying he had new information to deal with this morning, and that's why the news conference is starting 45 minutes late.
Garneau: Tragic accident touched the hearts of Canadians. Many Canadians have been very moved by the tributes to the victims. Fatal crash 'really viscerally caught the attention of Canadians.'
BREAKING: Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau says as a result of new data received this morning, a safety notice is being issued to restrict commercial operation of the Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 models in Canada and Canadian airspace.
Garneau says he is taking this move as a result of his expert panel evaluating new data received about similarities between the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes. Adds Canada has an 'enviable' aviation safety record, due to crew professionalism and strong safety culture.
Garneau says he will not hesitate to take further strict action if new information comes up that indicates Canadian air travellers are in any way at risk: 'I want them to be able to fly with confidence.' #cdnpoli
Garneau: 'What the notice is saying is that there can't be any Max 8 or Max 9 aircraft flying into, out of or across Canada.' Says passengers with flights scheduled on Boeing 737 Max 8 or 9 models should contact their airlines.
Garneau says today's action is based on satellite tracking data his officials just saw that suggested 'some similarities' between what happened Sunday in Ethiopia, killing 157 people, and the October Lion Air crash that took 189 lives in Indonesia.
Garneau: They compared vertical fluctuations and found a 'similar profile.' This is not conclusive, he warns, but it is something that points to a similar crash cause. Says for him and his panel, 'a threshold' was crossed that led to today's decision to close Canada's airspace.
Asked about the reaction of airlines and the Americans to his decision, Garneau says: 'When we're talking about air safety, there's no political pressure that comes into play. It's much too important...when we're talking about the possibility of people's lives being at issue.'
In light of reports that the head of Boeing called US President Donald Trump to plead for US airspace to remain open to its aircraft, Marc Garneau is asked if Boeing had made the same kind of representations to him. He answers: 'Not to me personally, no.'
Marc Garneau: 'There will be some disruption, there's no question about that.'
Garneau says there have not been any particular reports of worrisome issues with the Boeing 737 Max 8 or 9 models from the 3 Canadian airlines his officials consulted; there were no vertical fluctuations in the Canadian airlines' operations, as there were in the 2 fatal crashes.
Marc Garneau says he will need to see 'the smoking gun' about what caused the latest crash in Ethiopia in order to allow the Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 models back into Canadian airspace. Hopes there will be answers starting in the coming days.
Reminder: Air Canada has 24 Max 8 aircraft in its fleet, used mostly for domestic and American routes. WestJet Airlines has 13 Max 8s, and Sunwing has 4 of the aircraft.
Garneau, a former Canadian astronaut and pilot, says the data from the Lion Air crash suggested the Boeing's software was falsely indicating the aircraft's nose was too high and compensating for that, and 'the pilot lost that fight with this software.'
News release from Transport Minister Marc Garneau's office laying out the rationale behind today's decision to block Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 aircraft from using Canadian airspace until further notice: #cdnpoli
More @cbcnews Shares of Canadian airlines zigzag after Ottawa grounds Boeing 737 Max 8. Shares of Air Canada fell by nearly 2% after the announcement, while WestJet was down 1.7%. cbc.ca/1.5054648
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