Air Canada anticipates the Boeing 737 Max to be in the skies by the end of summer or the start of fall.
Ferio Pugliese, senior vice-president of Air Canada Express and government relations, said Wednesday in Nanaimo that he expected the grounded airplane to clear regulatory hurdles and be back in service “towards the end of the summer,” September or October.
Pugliese was speaking to business people during a luncheon hosted by the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce at Nanaimo’s Coast Bastion Hotel.
The Boeing 737 Max has been grounded worldwide due to ongoing safety concerns – particularly around the plane’s manoeuvring characteristics augmentation system or MCAS – following fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.
“It’s unfortunate we are in the situation we are but that situation is being worked out and worked through with our regulators,” Pugliese said.
Air Canada currently has 24 Max aircraft in its fleet and has an additional 37 – 26 Max 8 and 11 Max 9 aircraft – on order and while Air Canada Rouge does not utilize the airplane, its grounding has forced a delay in the re-launch of the Nanaimo-Toronto route.
Boeing, in a press release issued last month, said the 737 Max has been updated with newer MCAS software and is working with the Federal Aviation Administration and regulators around the world to address concerns.
“We’re committed to providing the FAA and global regulators all the information they need, and to getting it right. We’re making clear and steady progress and are confident that the 737 Max with updated MCAS software will be one of the safest airplanes ever to fly,” Boeing chairman, president and chief executive officer Dennis Muilenburg, said in a press release.
Speaking briefly to the News Bulletin after Wednesday’s meeting, Pugliese said Air Canada isn’t concerned about the safety of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft.
“We believe it will get recommissioned back into service,” he said.
Air Canada is aware that when the 737 Max is re-certified to fly by various regulatory agencies, the airline industry as a whole will have a challenge convincing the public that the aircraft’s safe, said Pugliese.
“Obviously we will be having to work very closely with the travelling public on recommissioning that and watching consumer confidence as it gets reintroduced into the service,” he said.
Air Canada has removed the 737 Max aircraft from its schedule until Sept. 2.
Transport Canada, which grounded the Boeing 737 Max in March, has not given a timeframe for when the aircraft could be certified and back in the sky.