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Garneau calls for flight simulators before Max 8s can return to Canadian skies

Transport Minister Marc Garneau speaks during a news conference in Ottawa, Wednesday March 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

MONTREAL — Transport Minister Marc Garneau says airlines that want to fly the Boeing 737 Max 8 in Canadian airspace must first train their pilots using a flight simulator.

Until recently, most U.S. airlines did not require flight simulation for pilots of the Max 8, which aviation authorities across the globe grounded in the wake of the deadly Ethiopian Airlines tragedy on March 10. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that American Airlines will start to use flight simulators, a significant shift.

Garneau stressed the effectiveness of flight simulation at an event in Montreal Wednesday, drawing on his years as an astronaut.

He said proper training requires more than an hour on an iPad, a reference to statements from the American Pilots’ Association that American Airlines pilots who were already qualified for Boeing 737-800s took a one-hour, iPad-based training program to fly the Max 8.

The transport minister closed Canadian skies to the Max 8 last month over safety concerns arising from the erratic flight path of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 that bore startling parallels to the fatal Lion Air crash on Oct. 29.

The two flights, both on Max 8s, killed a total of 346 people, including 18 Canadians.



The Canadian Press