WestJet announces 737 MAX return-to-service plan
First guest flight set for January 21 pending Transport Canada opening of skies
CALGARY, Alta. — WestJet announced its intent to return its fleet of 737 MAX aircraft to passenger service in a phased and transparent approach. The airline’s plans follow an announcement from Transport Canada (TC) on Dec. 17, where TC safety experts validated the aircraft design changes and outlined requirements for Canadian carriers.
Transport Canada’s validation followed that of the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) on Nov. 18, 2020.
“As we continue working with Transport Canada on the additional Canadian requirements, our first MAX will be ready to return safely to service as of January 21,” said Ed Sims, WestJet president and CEO, in a prepared statement. “While we don’t have final confirmation on when TC will open Canadian airspace to the 737 MAX aircraft, in the interest of transparency we are sharing our intent to fly once this confirmation is received.”
WestJet will take a phased approach to re-entry for its MAX aircraft beginning with non-commercial test flights that are anticipated to start in mid January. On January 21, pending Transport Canada’s reopening of the Canadian airspace to commercial flights for the 737 MAX, the airline plans to operate three roundtrip flights, per week, between Calgary and Toronto. The schedule will remain in place for four weeks, while evaluating further routes and additional frequencies. WestJet currently operates six daily flights between the two cities.