MIAMI – WestJet (WS) announced today that its Boeing 737 MAX jet will return to service with a gradual and transparent approach.
The Canadian carrier’s plans follow an announcement from Transport Canada (TC) on December 17, 2020, in which TC’s security experts validated the aircraft’s design changes and outlined requirements for Canadian carriers.
Statement from WestJet President & CEO
Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO, said, “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; 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.”
“The FAA, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency and numerous other regulatory bodies around the world have spent more than a year examining the MAX aircraft to provide recommended changes to software, pilot training and maintenance requirements.”
“We are confident with the changes they have mandated,” continued Sims. “In particular, the deliberate, detailed and independent scrutiny applied by Transport Canada’s National Aircraft Certification team, which prescribed additional requirements to pilot procedures and training, provides further confidence in the aircraft and its safe return.”
“We are dedicated to restoring guest confidence in this aircraft through our safe operation, while providing the transparency and the flexibility that some of our guests may still require,” concluded Sims. “We will be forthcoming with our guests on where the MAX aircraft are flying, and we will be flexible with our change and cancel policy to ensure our guests can make their travel plans confidently.”
WestJet will adopt a gradual approach with the return of the Boeing 737 MAX, beginning to operate non-commercial flights. On January 21, pending the reopening of Canadian airspace by the TC to commercial flights for the Boeing 737 MAX, the airline plans to operate three roundtrip flights a week between Calgary and Toronto.
The program will run for four weeks, evaluating additional routes and additional frequencies. The carrier currently operates six daily flights between the two cities.
Featured image: WestJet Boeing 737 MAX. Photo: Luca Flores/Airways