WestJet Plans To Resume 737 MAX Flights 21JAN, Pending Transport Canada Approval

Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw

WestJet Boeing 737 MAX. Photo credit: WestJet.

WestJet says it plans to resume passenger flights on the Boeing 737 MAX on 21JAN, 2021, pending Transport Canada's reopening of the Canadian airspace to commercial flights for the aircraft. 

WestJet says the re-entry will be conducted in a "phased and transparent" approach. 

On 21JAN, the airline plans to operate three roundtrip flights per week between Calgary and Toronto. The schedule will remain in place for four weeks, while evaluating further routes and additional frequencies. WestJet currently operates six daily flights between the two cities. 

Non-commercial test flights are anticipated to start in mid-JAN. 

The airline's plans follow an announcement from Transport Canada (TC) on 17DEC, 2020 where safety experts validated the aircraft design changes and outlined requirements for Canadian carriers. However, the plane has not yet been officially cleared to fly in Canada. 

"As we continue working with Transport Canada on the additional Canadian requirements, our first MAX will be ready to return safely to service as of January 21," said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. 

"While we don't have final confirmation on when TC will open Canadian airspace to the 737 MAX aircraft, in the interest of transparency we are sharing our intent to fly once this confirmation is received." 

Transport Canada's validation of aircraft design changes followed a full green light from the U.S. regulator, when the Federal Aviation Authority approved the plane on 18NOV, 2020. 

"The FAA, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency and numerous other regulatory bodies around the world have spent more than a year examining the MAX aircraft to provide recommended changes to software, pilot training and maintenance requirements. We are confident with the changes they have mandated," said Sims. 

"In particular, the deliberate, detailed and independent scrutiny applied by Transport Canada's National Aircraft Certification team, which prescribed additional requirements to pilot procedures and training, provides further confidence in the aircraft and its safe return." 

Sims adds that WestJet is dedicated to restoring guest confidence in the Boeing 737 MAX, "through our safe operation, while providing the transparency and the flexibility that some of our guests may still require. We will be forthcoming with our guests on where the MAX aircraft are flying, and we will be flexible with our change and cancel policy to ensure our guests can make their travel plans confidently." 

WestJet has created a variety of resources to assist guests in feeling comfortable, including a behind-the-scenes video looking at the pilot and maintenance team efforts that went into safely returning the aircraft to the skies. Details can be found on the website: www.westjet.com/maxinfo.

Anna Kroupina

Anna Kroupina Journalist

Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.

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