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A Boeing 737 MAX aircraft is shown on Thursday, March 14, 2019, at the Boeing Renton Factory in Renton.
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A Boeing 737 MAX aircraft is shown on Thursday, March 14, 2019, at the Boeing Renton Factory in Renton.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Canada to visit Boeing to watch over changes to 737 MAX planes

Canada says it is preparing to send a team to Boeing to evaluate changes to the 737 MAX planes.

Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration are already working to understand what needs to be fixed to ensure the air safety of 737s MAX planes produced in Renton.

The Canadian team is coming to ensure Canada’s expectations are met, according to Transport Canada.

Neither Transport Canada nor Boeing said whether this was unusual, and Boeing said it had no information to share about the Canadian announcement.

But there has already been something unusual about the order of events.

Air authorities around the world grounded the 737 MAX earlier this week, led by China, the UK and Europe. They were concerned about similarities between the crashes of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 and another MAX 8 flown by Indonesia's Lion Air. In both cases, everyone on board died — a total of 346 people.

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By mid-week, however, the plane was still flying in North America. That was until Canada grounded the MAX, saying it had seen new evidence that pointed to a connection between the Ethiopian and Lion Air crashes.

The Trump Administration soon followed.

President Donald Trump announcing the grounding of the US 737 MAX 8 and 9 shortly after, saying, "working with Canada, working with other countries, we just felt it was the right thing to do."

Because the FAA is the lead safety regulator where Boeing is based, the FAA leads the grounding process. However, groundings are rare events.

Transport Canada says its team will assist Boeing and the FAA “in the evaluation of the design changes proposed, and help determine if any further changes to the design or procedures are necessary.”

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No determination has been made about what went wrong on the Ethiopian flight. After the Lion Air flight, the FAA issued warnings to airlines to ensure pilots knew an automated system on the 737 MAX 8 could cause the plane to dive on takeoff.

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