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WestJet Announced 737 MAX Return-to-Service Plan

WestJet recently annnounced its intent to return its fleet of Boeing 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 US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) on November 18, 2020.

"As we continue working with Transport Canada on the additional Canadian requirements, our first MAX will be ready to return safely to service as of January 21," said Ed Sims, CEO, WestJet. "While we do not have final confirmation on when TC will open Canadian airspace to the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, in the interest of transparency we are sharing our intent to fly once this confirmation is received."

"The FAA, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency and numerous other regulatory bodies around the world have spent more than a year examining the MAX aircraft to provide recommended changes to software, pilot training and maintenance requirements. We are confident with the changes they have mandated," continued Sims. "In particular, the deliberate, detailed and independent scrutiny applied by Transport Canada's National Aircraft Certification team, which prescribed additional requirements to pilot procedures and training, provides further confidence in the aircraft and its safe return."

WestJet will take a phased approach to re-entry for its MAX aircraft beginning with non-commercial test flights which have begun in mid January.