Thursday, 21 January 2021

WestJet returns the 737 MAX to commercial service

Photo WestJet
The Canadian airline WestJet has returned the first of its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to passenger service with the departure of WS115 from Calgary to Vancouver. With the second 737 MAX flight, WS122, from Vancouver to Calgary departing at noon local time.

The 737 MAX has been grounded for almost two years following two fatal crashes that killed over 300 people caused by Boeing's rush to get the 737 MAX into service with flawed design, a safety system that pilots were not told about that override their inputs and relied on just one sensor as well as other troublesome issues over the certification of the jets.

There were only 71 passengers on the first flight, despite offering free tickets to the media, as late as yesterday afternoon. Among those travelling were Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO, Chris Burley, WestJet Board Chair and Chris Rauenbusch, President, CUPE Local 4070 and a member of WestJet's Inflight team. 

The jet was piloted by Captain David Colquhoun, WestJet Master Executive Council Chair, Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) and Captain Scott Wilson, Vice President WestJet Operations. Although, the majority of WestJet pilots have yet to have retraining on the MAX jets, crucial for its return to revenue service. 

"The return of WestJet's MAX aircraft to the fleet marks an operational milestone after 22 months of intense review," said Ed Sims, "WestJet's preparation, training processes, due diligence and safety above all philosophy drives our confidence in welcoming guests onboard our MAX aircraft."

Captain David Colquhoun, WestJet Master Executive Council Chair, Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) said, "For nearly two years, ALPA has been working tirelessly with Transport Canada, international regulators, and airline management on reviewing the MAX and the revised pilot training requirements needed to safely return this aircraft to service."

Unlike other airlines that are seeking to hide the 737 MAX by using model number 737-8, WestJet is being transparent over the scheduling of its aircraft. There’s no fee to change or cancel  flights booked before February 28, 2021, that are now scheduled on a 737 MAX jet - however,  you will not get the money back, you'll get a credit to use on another WestJet flight that is valid for two years.  

Photo WestJet

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