Boeing’s 737 Max has been approved to fly back into Canadian skies starting Wednesday, ending a 22-month period following a couple of dangerous foreign crashes that have claimed 346 lives and caused severe damage to the company’s reputation.
Transport Canada today announced the completion of an almost two-year assessment of the aircraft and issued a “celestial order” describing the series of mandatory changes that must be made before returning to Canadian airspace.
The department said it would complete the final phase of the removal of the aircraft on Wednesday and send a notice to the Air Force (NOTOM) banning Max commercial flights over Canadian skies.
WestJet is expected to be the first airline to fly Max again Thursday with a flight between Calgary and Toronto. It plans to run three-week tours on that route next month, while estimating the addition of additional routes.
Air Canada plans to return its Max fleet on February 1. Sunwing did not announce when it planned to restart commercial flights on board.
Watch | How WestJet and Air Canada prepare for the return of the Boeing 737 Max 8:
In addition to design and maintenance requirements, Transport Canada says additional training is needed for the flight crew of Canadian airlines.
After two crashes, Canada faced criticism for over-relying on its rival in the United States when certifying the aircraft. In response, the government said it had spent 15,000 hours independently reviewing the changes proposed in the Max and conducting its own test flights.
“Over the past 20 months, Transport Canada’s civil aviation safety experts have, with their strictness and integrity, ensured that the safety concerns identified by the Department are addressed,” the new Minister of Transport, Omar Alcabra, said in a statement today.
“Canadians and the aviation industry can ensure that Transport Canada has diligently observed all safety issues before allowing this aircraft to resume service in Canadian airspace.”
The WestJet survey says passengers are reluctant to fly on the Max
A year ago, restoring confidence after two catastrophic accidents would have been a big challenge. Now, as Air Canada and WestJet do it during an epidemic, WestJet’s internal research shows passengers are generally more apprehensive about flying – and even more embarrassing to fly on the Max than ever before.
The majority of those surveyed – 64 percent said they would avoid flying at Max altogether, according to the latest data shared with CBC News since the plane crash.
In Indonesia and Ethiopia, a few months after killing 346 people, including 18 Canadian citizens and permanent residents, the nations of the world based Max in March 2019.
Both crashes exposed serious flaws in the aircraft’s flight-control system and jet certification process.
Boeing agreed to pay $ 2.5 billion after agreeing to defraud and stop the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) from evaluating an air-control system called the MCAS, which was found to have pushed the plane’s nose down as pilots struggled to fix it. Two accidents.
Watch | Parents of Ethiopian crash victims are still wary of the 737 Max