Both WestJet and Air Canada have removed the Boeing 737 MAX from their upcoming schedules until late June, as the aircraft’s return to the skies is delayed even further.
The updates came after Boeing announced yesterday (Jan. 21) that the 737 MAX will remain grounded until mid-2020, pending approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other global authorities. The 737 MAX has been at the centre of the embattled aviation manufacturer’s recent troubles, after the plane was involved in two catastrophic crashes – Lion Air in October 2018 and Ethiopian Airlines in March 2019 – killing 346 people between the two incidents.
WestJet and Air Canada respond
Yesterday (Jan. 21), WestJet announced that it would be removing the aircraft from its schedule through to June 24, 2020, stating that “any affected guests will be proactively contacted once work is complete.” WestJet has completed more than 98 per cent of its planned departures even while its 13 MAX aircraft remain on the ground, the carrier said in a statement.
"We thank our guests for their patience and our WestJetters for their commitment to keeping our airline moving safely and on time as we continue to adjust our schedule," said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. "We remain confident in the regulatory process undertaken by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) and Transport Canada to ensure the safe return of the aircraft."
Today, Air Canada announced that it would also remove the plane from its schedules through to June 30, 2020, adding that “customers affected by these changes will be advised of their new itineraries and offered suitable travel options,” and that the removal of the 737 MAX “will also allow the airline to manage its schedule and fleet most effectively, as it awaits decisions by Canadian and international regulators on returning the 737 MAX safely into service.”
Sunwing previously announced last August that it would not include the 737 MAX in its 2019-20 winter schedule.
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