The Canadian airline WestJet announced its intention to return to operating commercial flights with its fleet of 737 MAX aircraft starting January 21, in a gradual and transparent manner.
WestJet will adopt a phased approach to the re-entry of its MAX aircraft, beginning with non-commercial test flights scheduled to begin in mid-January. On January 21, pending Transport Canada re-opening of Canadian airspace to commercial 737 MAX flights, the airline plans to operate three weekly roundtrip flights between Calgary and Toronto. The program will be maintained for four weeks, while additional routes and frequencies are evaluated.
“As we continue to work with Transport Canada on the additional requirements, our first MAX will be ready to return safely to service on January 21. Although we do not have final confirmation as to when TC will open Canadian airspace to the 737 MAX, in the interest of transparency we share our intention to fly once this confirmation is received,” said Ed Sims, President and CEO of WestJet.
“We are dedicated to restoring passenger confidence in this aircraft through our safe operation, while providing the transparency and flexibility that some of our travelers may still require. We will be very communicative with our customers about where the MAX aircraft flies, and we will be flexible with our change and cancellation policy to ensure that our passengers can make their travel plans with confidence,” Sims concluded.
The airline’s plans follow an announcement by Transport Canada (TC) on December 17, 2020, in which its safety experts validated the aircraft design changes and outlined requirements for Canadian airlines.