WestJet has cancelled nearly all of its weekly direct flights from Winnipeg to vacation hot spots this winter due to continued safety concerns about the Boeing 737 Max aircraft.
The commercial jet was involved in two deadly crashes in the last year and in March, Transport Canada joined aviation regulators around the world in grounding the planes until software enhancements and additional crew training could be implemented.
With a date for the return of the 737 still up in the air, WestJet will "temporarily suspended" two weekly flights to Phoenix and two weekly flights to Las Vegas from Nov. 4, 2019 to Jan. 5, 2020. The only remaining direct flight from Winnipeg to the United States will be a once weekly trip to Palm Springs, which previously ran twice a week.
Internationally, some weekly direct flights to Cancun and Puerto Vallarta have also been suspended.
"Guests who hold a current reservation impacted by this update will be notified proactively if there are changes to their itinerary," said WestJet media and public relations advisor Morgan Bell in an emailed statement.
The airline has cancelled direct flights in cities across the country and started notifying affected passengers of itinerary changes directly on Sunday.
While the booking process has been updated, flight frequency details on WestJet’s direct flight landing page remained unchanged on Tuesday afternoon, which Bell said was due to the airline’s commitment to return service to these routes in the future.
Eva Wasney reports on arts, culture and life for the Winnipeg Free Press.