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

Hospital patient pleads guilty to dumbbell assault of nurse in Abbotsford

Neale Heath admits to assault causing bodily harm in attack last September

VIDEO: Asphalt plant protest takes place outside Mission City Hall

Group from Steelhead oppose proposed project, want public hearing reopened

Westbound Highway 1 roll-over crash slowing commuters in Abbotsford

Accident occurred just west of Mt. Lehman Road, left lane blocked

World-renowned violinist to perform at Abbotsford prison

Gidon Kremer’s concert on Jan. 29 is part of Looking at the Stars’ program

Suspected dine-and-dasher who pulled gun on staff arrested by Abbotsford police

Police recognized man from description of neck and arm tattoos

VIDEO: Nickelback gears up for nostalgia tour

Canadian band joins Stone Temple Pilots for a summer tour that includes just one stop in Canada

Province asks health-care staff to be ‘vigilant’ in screening for possible coronavirus cases

This comes after U.S. health officials confirmed a case of the virus in Washington State

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into B.C. newsroom office

It was a chaotic start to the week for the Kitimat Northern Sentinel

Deer carcass strung up at Surrey fire hall prompts investigation

Investigation underway following complaint a Surrey firefighter hung a deer carcass in a fire hall

Canadian law firm launches class action on behalf of Iran flight victims

Flight 752 was shot down by Iran shortly after take off

Mission Hill cellarman fired after mistakenly dumping $162K of wine down the drain

The former employee filed a grievance with the West Kelowna winery but was unsuccesful

Most Read