Here’s how Canadian airlines are dealing with the grounding of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft

Here’s how Canadian airlines are dealing with the grounding of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft
With the Canadian government grounding Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 aircraft citing safety concerns, 41 Canadian airline-owned jets have been taken out of service.

Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau attributed the bans to “new data” about similarities between Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines crash and the Oct. 29, 2018 Lion Air crash in Indonesia.

As a result, thousands of Canadian flyers stand to be affected. There are three Canadian airlines that count 737 MAX aircraft in their fleet, and here’s what they’re saying:

Air Canada says it has 24 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in its total fleet of 400 aircraft.

Around 75 737 MAX flights are operated daily, representing less than six per cent of Air Canada’s approximately 1,600 daily flights.

As a result, the airline says that the “vast majority” of its flights are operating as per their normal schedule.

However, Air Canada says that its 737 MAX flights carry between 9,000 and 12,000 passengers a day, so customers can expect delays in re-booking and reaching customer service.

“We are making adjustments to our schedule to minimize the disruption to customers as much as possible, by optimizing the deployment of the rest of our fleet and looking at alternative options, including accommodating customers on other airlines,” an Air Canada spokesperson said.

Some routes, such as flights from Halifax and St. John’s headed to London, Ont. are being cancelled for the time being, with passengers instead re-routed through Toronto and Montreal.

WestJet counts 13 737 MAX aircraft among its total fleet of 175 aircraft.

Around 35 flights are operated daily on the 737 MAX.

The airline says some delays and cancellations will occur “as this is a very fluid situation.” It says aircraft are being swapped and flight changes made where possible to mitigate the impact on passengers.

Some 1,000 guests have been affected by the 737 MAX grounding as of Wednesday, WestJet said, with over half of the guests moved to other flights the same day and the other half put on Thursday and Friday flights.

“This is a very fluid situation and we are working to minimize the number of guests impacted,” WestJet said.

Sunwing Airlines grounded its small fleet of four Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft on Wednesday, even before Canadian authorities announced their decision to ground the jets and close Canadian airspace to them.

The 737 MAX 8 makes up less than 10 per cent of the low-cost airline’s fleet.

Sunwing said Thursday afternoon that it was “finalizing a revised flying schedule” to accommodate the removal of the MAX aircraft from service.
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