Air Canada is removing the Boeing 737 Max from its flying schedule until Feb. 14, citing “regulatory uncertainty” that will affect thousands of passengers. An Air Canada Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft is shown next to a gate at Trudeau Airport in Montreal on March 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Air Canada scrubs 737 Max from schedule until Feb. 14 amid lingering uncertainty

The country’s biggest airline had earlier scrubbed the 24 jetliners from schedules until Jan. 8

Air Canada will keep the Boeing 737 Max off its flying schedule until Feb. 14, citing “regulatory uncertainty” nearly a year after authorities across the globe banned the plane from the skies following two fatal crashes in five months.

The country’s biggest airline had earlier scrubbed the 24 jetliners from schedules until Jan. 8. For now, major U.S. carriers hope to welcome the Max back into the fleet in early to mid-January.

The Boeing Co. has said it expects federal authorities to greenlight software changes to the aircraft, but regulators say they don’t have a set timeline.

Air Canada’s chief commercial officer said the extension until Valentine’s Day will give Air Canada “scheduling predictability” as it rolls out its new reservation system.

“We are taking this prudent step as a result of the ongoing regulatory uncertainty about the timing of the aircraft returning to service,” Lucie Guillemette said in a release Wednesday.

The airline said it will lease two more wide-body aircraft at least through March Break to help compensate for the absence of the Max planes, which make up about 20 per cent of Air Canada’s narrow-body fleet and would typically carry about 11,000 passengers per day.

WestJet announced in September it was removing the 737 Max from its schedule until Jan. 5.

Sunwing Airlines Inc. said in August that its four Maxes will be absent from the rotation until mid-May, with some 3,000 flights having been affected over the summer alone.

Last month, Air Canada’s chief financial officer said he expected that Transport Canada may not approve the plane for takeoff until early next year.

Michael Rousseau noted his airline doesn’t fly other 737 models, giving it an unenviably “unique” position relative to North American competitors as Air Canada’s Max pilots sit relatively idle while those at rival carriers find more productive deployment in the cockpit of other 737 jets.

Air Canada faced a tougher third quarter because of the grounding, forecasting a two per cent decline in capacity from a year ago.

About 26 Max 8s were initially slated for delivery between the March grounding and mid-2020, but have been partly pushed back. The Airbus A320s they were set to replace are less fuel-efficient, piling on more costs.

Air Canada, like WestJet, has also had to lease aircraft and cancel some routes to compensate for the Max 8’s absence.

READ MORE: Boeing, FAA both faulted in certification of the 737 Max

READ MORE: ‘Ladies and gentlemen’ a phrase of the past on board some airplanes

Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

Campbell River RCMP describe violent incident as ‘disturbing event’

Skatepark incident described by RCMP as ‘violence for violence[’s] sake’

North Island area timber supply under review

Review will inform annual cut for the next ten years

Campbell River homelessness groups prepare for winter in a pandemic

Winter presents unique challenges to people experiencing homelessness this year

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Most Read