An Air Canada Boeing 737 Max 8 departing from Vancouver International Airport in August 2018. The federal government on Mar. 13 grounded all Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 aircraft indefinitely due to safety concerns. (Nicholas Pescod/News Bulletin)

Check your flight: Kelowna flights may be scuttled with grounding of the Max 8

Check the status of your flight before arriving, work directly with the airline to rebook

There may be some scheduling issues at the Kelowna International Airport due to the Max 8 being pulled out of circulation.

Sam Samaddar, airport director, said Sunwing flies a Max 8 out of the local airport to Cuban and Mexican destinations daily, and Westjet has one going in and out two times a week. It’s not a huge amount of traffic on its own, but there are cascading issues.

“Because they are removing aircraft from the system, WestJet and Air Canada are making adjustments to address where they have vacancies,” said Samaddar.

“We just had a flight (Wednesday) morning due into Kelowna that was cancelled and that was used to accommodate a flight schedule elsewhere.”

Westjet has 92 per cent of its fleet still operating, so they have ample ability to adjust.

While the changes aren’t going to be too much, this is one of the busiest times of the year at the local airport.

“We had the Ontario spring break, and lots of skiers from Ontario have (traveled) into this market,” said Samaddar. “And as one spring break winds down, B.C.’s spring break winds up. This is the third busiest month of the year, behind December.”

Between the traffic and the airline changes, it’s a time for people taking flights to be aware of what’s happening around them.

READ MORE: MAX 8 CONCERNS ABOUND

“We are advising all passengers to check the status of their flight before arriving at the airport, and to work directly with the airline if they need to re-book,” said Jessica Hewitt, communications advisor for the Kelowna International Airport.

Transportation Minister Marc Garneau on Wednesday morning issued a safety notice, banning domestic or foreign Max 8s from taking off, landing or flying through Canadian airspace.

Canada’s major airlines were inundated on social media with questions about the safety of their fleet in the wake of the fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday.

The accident, which killed all 157 aboard the Boeing 737 Max 8 — including 18 Canadians — raised concerns over parallels to a Lion Air crash of the same model of aircraft in Indonesia last October, killing 189 people.

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