Canadian officials have banned the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft after a second deadly crash involving the passenger plane in five months.
"The panel has been reviewing data in real time, and I can assure you it has been occupying our time 100 per cent", said Garneau referring to the many experts consulted in Canada's aviation industry after Sunday's crash that killed 157 people, including 18 Canadians.
More than 40 countries have now grounded or banned the Max 8 from their airspace over safety concerns and possible parallels to an October 29 incident which saw the same type of aircraft plunge into the Java Sea, killing 189 people.
Hours after Garneau's news conference, the United States, under heavy pressure, followed suit and joined dozens of countries across Africa, the Middle East and Asia, including China, as well as the European Union who have ordered Max 8s grounded.
Boeing, which maintained that its planes were safe to fly, said it supported the move to temporarily ground 737 MAX flights.
"So, we have issued directive that no operator with Boeing 737 Max 8 or Max 9 should operate into and outside our airports and this is being carried out", he said.
Air Canada said it will grant affected customers on its roughly 75 daily Max 8 flights a full fee waiver - though that may not cover higher fares for a rebooked flight - along with "the ability to obtain a full refund".
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Air Canada, for example, announced it was canceling flights to London following Britain's decision to ban the aircraft.
"The pilot was fighting against the computer software, which wanted to drop the nose of the aircraft" and "eventually there was a loss of control", said Garneau, a former astronaut.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration grounded the planes Wednesday, saying regulators had new satellite evidence that showed the movements of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 were similar to those of Lion Air Flight 610. "There are some similarities between the two profiles", he said.
"The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, whose mandate it is to issue advisory, has already issued advisory that nobody should fly into Nigeria or out of Nigeria using Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9, pending the determination of the actual cause of the crash in Ethiopia and also pending the outcome of the response of the manufacturer, which is Boeing".
Garneau said he will reverse the ban when he sees the "smoking gun that will explain what happened with this particular flight". Such an investigation could take months to complete, experts say. In a dramatic development, the European Aviation Safety Agency has split with the Federal Aviation Administration in banning the Max, leaving the U.S. regulator isolated in insisting that it's still safe to fly.
The aircraft was en route from Addis Ababa to Nairobi with 149 passengers and eight crew on board.