Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/10/2019 (227 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
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.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 16, 2019.
Companies in this story: (TSX:AC, TSX:WJA)
Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.
Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.
To those who have made donations, thank you.
To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.
The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.
While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.
After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.
If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.
We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.