Boeing 737 Max 8 ban extended to holiday season — how will that impact flights?

Boeing 737 Max 8 ban extended to holiday season — how will that impact flights?
That means travellers may have more difficulty than usual both finding and affording holiday flights, according to Tae Hoon Oum, a professor at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business.

Air Canada has already announced that its 24 jets will be grounded at least until Jan. 8, 2020. Until the grounding, the company had been expecting 12 more MAX 8s by last July.

“WestJet is in the process of adjusting our winter schedule to remove the MAX from service from Nov. 4, 2019, through Jan. 5, 2020,” a statement from the airline read.

It added that the changes will be available on its website on Sept. 8.

Sunwing has also removed its fleet from flight schedules, saying the jets won’t return until at least May 2020.

Several other airlines around the world, including United, Southwest and American Airlines, have also extended their groundings.

Oum explained that he expects the Boeing groundings to last for several months, and at least into the new year — something that hurts Boeing, airlines and passengers.

He noted airlines will try to find ways around cancelling flights altogether in the busy travel season, but that will be difficult.

“The airlines will try to secure to capacity by leasing aircraft, but I’m sure of those leasing companies will be sold out. There are only so many aircraft.”

That’s why he said passengers planning on flying during the holiday season should plan ahead and start monitoring prices earlier this year.

Taking the MAX out of the schedule months beforehand does reduce airlines’ risk of alienating customers by cancelling flights close to departure, he noted.

Boeing is currently trying to fix flight-control software implicated in crashes off the coast of Indonesia and in Ethiopia — which together killed 346 people — and solve another problem that Federal Aviation Administration test pilots discovered in June.
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