Air Canada to suspend Boeing 737 MAX planes until ‘at least’ July, some flights affected

Canadian passengers face delays and cancellations due to airplane grounding
ABOVE: Canadian passengers face delays and cancellations due to airplane grounding.

Air Canada plans to keep its Boeing 737 MAX planes on the ground until at least July 1, the company said Tuesday.

Last Wednesday, Transport Minister Marc Garneau grounded MAX 8 and 9 jets as a precautionary move, three days after the Ethiopian Airlines disaster that killed all 157 people on board, including 18 Canadians.

READ MORE: Air Canada and WestJet shift planes to address shortages from MAX 8 grounding

In a statement released Tuesday, Air Canada said the timeline for the “return to service of the 737 Max is unknown.” It intends to remove the jets flying from its schedule until at least July 1, 2019 for planning purposes and to provide customers certainty for booking and travel.

The airline said there are flight schedule changes for April as well as two temporary cancellations. This includes the suspension of flights from Halifax to London’s Heathrow airport and St. John’s, N.L. to London’s Heathrow airport, which is in effect until April 30.

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For a full list of other route changes, click here.

Air Canada says it has 24 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in its total fleet of 400 aircraft.

Around 75 737 MAX flights are operated daily, representing less than six per cent of Air Canada’s approximately 1,600 daily flights.

READ MORE: Here’s how Canadian airlines are dealing with the grounding of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft

As a result, the airline says that the “vast majority” of its flights are operating as per their normal schedule.

However, Air Canada says that its 737 MAX flights carry between 9,000 and 12,000 passengers a day, so customers can expect delays in re-booking and reaching customer service.