WestJet grounding its Boeing 737 MAX planes longer than anticipated

CALGARY – Following Boeing’s announcement regarding the 737-MAX aircraft, WestJet said it will be updating its schedule to remove the aircraft through to June 24, 2020.

On Jan. 21 Boeing announced the 737 Max aircraft won’t fly until at least mid-2020. This is a delay from Boeing’s earlier January 2020 time frame.

Any affected WestJet guests will be proactively contacted once work is complete.

“We remain confident in the regulatory process undertaken by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) and Transport Canada to ensure the safe return of the aircraft,” said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO.

WestJet completed more than 98 per cent of its planned departures even while its 13 MAX aircraft remain on the ground.

Boeing said on their website: “As we have emphasized, the FAA and other global regulators will determine when the 737 MAX returns to service. However, in order to help our customers and suppliers plan their operations, we periodically provide them with our best estimate of when regulators will begin to authorize the ungrounding of the 737 MAX.

“We are informing our customers and suppliers that we are currently estimating that the ungrounding of the 737 MAX will begin during mid-2020. This updated estimate is informed by our experience to date with the certification process. It is subject to our ongoing attempts to address known schedule risks and further developments that may arise in connection with the certification process. It also accounts for the rigorous scrutiny that regulatory authorities are rightly applying at every step of their review of the 737 MAX’s flight control system and the Joint Operations Evaluation Board process which determines pilot training requirements.

“Returning the MAX safely to service is our number one priority, and we are confident that will happen. We acknowledge and regret the continued difficulties that the grounding of the 737 MAX has presented to our customers, our regulators, our suppliers, and the flying public. We will provide additional information about our efforts to safely return the 737 MAX to service in connection with our quarterly financial disclosures next week.”

-Gerhard Gellinger photo

-reporter@albertapressleader.ca

Updated Jan. 22, 11:25 a.m. For more clarity, the headline was adjusted to add words “longer than anticipated.”

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