Air Canada Partners With Other Airlines, Drops Boeing 737 Until August

Air Canada
An Air Canada Airbus A320-200 airplane prepares to land at Vancouver's international airport in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, February 5, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Ben Nelms/File Photo)

Air Canada has decided to extend its grounding of the Boeing 737 Max until August 1, 2019. The company said it will use other aircraft to fulfill flight demands and will also cooperate with other airlines to provide other options for passengers.

In a detailed statement on the company's official newsroom, Air Canada said it has removed the Boeing models from its flight schedules "until at least August 1, 2019." The airliner said the 737 Max jets' return to its schedule will be based on safety assessments and government recommendations.

"We understand the importance our customers attach to their summer travel and through the actions, we are announcing today, Air Canada now has in place a schedule and the capacity to meet travelers' needs," executive vice president and chief commercial officer, Lucie Guillemette said.

Ever since the entire Boeing 737 Max fleet of 24 jets was grounded on March 13, there have been passenger fears about how the Canadian airliners will handle increased flight demand during the summer season.

To address the issue, Air Canada said it will partner with Lufthansa for the provider's Montreal-Frankfurt flights for May. WOW Air is also expected to deliver six Airbus A321 jets that are scheduled to join the fleet by next month.

Air Canada was one of Boeing's 737 Max operators before two crashes involving the said model took the lives of 346 people. Shortly after the Ethiopian Airlines crash on March, the Canadian airliner grounded its entire 737 Max fleet.

Last week, the company said its pilots are reviewing the Boeing jets' MCAS software that was believed to have caused the March tragedy and the Lion Air crash in October. Air Canada said it will decide later on the supposed need for further simulator training.

The call was made after Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau urged airliners to promote additional simulator training for pilots flying the Boeing 737 Max models. Garneau's recommendation was against a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) report that said training didn't require a simulator.

Despite Boeing's statement that it has completed test flights on the 737 Max with its updated software, aviation experts said passengers have a certain fear of riding the jet following the crashes.

"I haven't seen anything like this in decades, in terms of consumer fear and desire to avoid flying on the 737 Max," aviation industry analyst, Henry Harteveldt, said of the matter.

A couple of other airlines have grounded the Boeing 737 Max jets until further notice. The company has reiterated that it has delivered a patch to the airliner but the plane has yet to be certified again by the FAA.

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