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WestJet cancels orders for 15 Boeing 737 Max planes as industry struggles


March 11, 2021
By Jon Victor, The Canadian Press

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WestJet Boeing 737 Max arrives at Vancouver International Airport. (Photo: WestJet)

WestJet Airlines Ltd. says it has cancelled orders for 15 Boeing 737 Max aircraft as the industry-wide downturn in aviation continues.

The cancellations leave WestJet with 27 Max aircraft remaining on order, the company says.

“WestJet remains committed to our 737 MAX aircraft and have safely returned the first three of our 14 MAX to the fleet,” WestJet spokeswoman Morgan Bell said.

In January, WestJet was the first Canadian airline to return the Max into service, after Transport Canada lifted a nearly two-year grounding order for the aircraft.

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The aircraft was grounded in airspace worldwide in March 2019 after deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that investigators said were caused by a faulty sensor system.

Transport Canada required airlines to make a number of design changes and implement additional training procedures for pilots operating the Max.

Beyond those requirements, airlines have said they plan to notify passengers if they are scheduled to fly on a Max and will offer customers more flexible options for changing their flights to another aircraft.

Air Canada, which also flies the aircraft, returned its first Max to service on Feb. 1.

Air Canada cut some of its orders for the Max earlier in the pandemic, saying that the move was in response to new market realities. Airlines have been scrambling to slash costs as the pandemic and travel restrictions cause revenues to plunge.

Air Canada has indicated that the industry is close to a deal with the federal government about a bailout for the sector, after months of negotiations about the terms of an aid package.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2021