MIAMI – Earlier today, Transport Canada issued a statement announcing an airworthiness directive (AD) pertaining to the Boeing 737 MAX series returning to service in the country. Transport Canada has spent over 15,000 hours extensively reviewing the troublesome airliner, and the AD outlines the final requirements for modifications to the jet.

The Canadian regulator’s work on the review of the aircraft has made the nation a leader in the MAX project as a whole, aiding the United States’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on many decisions regarding the MAX.

Additionally, the regulator is overseeing the implementation of the requirements for Canadian operators of the series, and approved a revised training program for three airlines back in December of 2020.

On January 20, 2021, Transport Canada will lift the NOTAM which has prohibited the MAX from entering Canadian airspace for quite some time now. This will be the final step in the aircraft’s return to service in Canada.

Air Canada 737 MAX 8. Photo: Liam Funnell @downwindaviation_

Canada’s Airlines Bring Back the MAX

Following the Transport Canada announcement, two of Canada’s largest airlines, Air Canada (AC) and WestJet (WS), have both announced plans to bring their MAX jets back online.

WestJet plans on immediately reintroducing the airliners to the schedule, with the first passenger service planned for the day after the NOTAM is lifted, January 21st. AC is being slightly more conservative with their reintroduction plans and will wait until February 1st to resume commercial operations with the MAX.

Both airlines included in their statements ways that passengers can see what aircraft type their flight will be operated by, for those travelers that may still be wary of flying onboard a MAX.

WestJet 737 MAX 8. Photo: Luca Flores @luca_at_lax

Foundation of Safety

All parties involved in the 737 MAX recertification in Canada are very confident in the series’ ability to operate safely. Key leaders from Transport Canada, Air Canada, and WestJet were all cited in the various statements concerning the recertification expressing their trust in the airliner.

Canada’s Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra said that “Over the last 20 months, Transport Canada’s civil aviation safety experts, by their rigour and thoroughness, have ensured the safety concerns the department had identified have been addressed. Canadians and the airline industry can rest assured that Transport Canada has diligently addressed all safety issues prior to permitting this aircraft to return to service in Canadian airspace”.

Captain Murray Strom, Vice President, Flight Operations at Air Canada state, “We are very confident the nearly two-year regulatory process undertaken by Transport Canada and other regulators worldwide ensures the utmost safety of the Boeing 737 MAX fleet from nose to tail, and from wing to wing.” 

“As part of Air Canada’s multi-layered approach to reinforcing and enhancing safety, our internal experts have also worked with independent specialists to conduct assessments of the aircraft and our operating procedures.”

Finally, WestJet President and CEO Ed Sims expressed that the airline is “confident with the changes they [Transport Canada] have mandated, 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.”

What are your opinions on the 737 MAX? Would you still be cautious to board a flight on board one of these aircraft, or are you confident in the work that has gone into the recertification? Let us know in the comments and stay tuned to Airways for more news as the MAX returns to the skies.

Featured image: Boeing 737 MAX 7 wearing the manufacturer’s house livery. Photo: Nick Sheeder