WestJet today 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 December 17, 2020 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 November 18, 2020.
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.
"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," said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. . "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."