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

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Improved health and social services needed

It’s imperative that the root systemic causes of homelessness are addressed, say letter writers

Province providing financing to help get apartments built in Nanaimo’s Wellington area

120 apartments on Ledgerwood Road intended to be affordable for ‘middle-income’ households

‘Someone knows something’: a look into Vancouver Island missing persons with interactive map

There are more than three dozen people listed as missing throughout Vancouver Island

Regional District of Nanaimo to start delivering new garbage carts

Updated automated curbside collection service set to get underway Oct. 1

Nanaimo RCMP want speeding motorists to ‘slow the blazes down’

Police raise alarm after seeing 400-per cent rise in excessive speeding tickets last month

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Departure Bay ferry capacity increases to 70%, says B.C. Ferries

Fifty-per-cent limit being phased out, B.C. Ferries has no current plans to provide masks

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Outreach team making connections with young people experiencing homelessness in Nanaimo

Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre youth advisory council initiative offers ‘no-barrier’ help downtown

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Shellfish industry get funds to clean up at Island sites and beyond

Businesses can apply to cover half of costs to clean up so-called ‘ghost gear’

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

Most Read