April 5, 2019 4:44 pm
Updated: April 5, 2019 9:54 pm

Canadian airlines say it’s too early to speculate on future of Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft

WATCH: Boeing says it is 'sorry for pain' caused by the Ethiopian Airlines crash


Canada’s largest airlines say they do not have a timeline for when the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft will be added back into rotation.

READ MORE: Canadian airlines warn of delays, travellers seek answers on Boeing 737 MAX 8 ban

The aircraft was banned from Canadian airspace in March after two deadly crashes involving the same model of jetliner occurred within six months.

Canadian airlines have had to make a number of adjustments to their schedules in order to accommodate the grounding of their MAX fleets.

Air Canada has adjusted its schedule to the end of May and has taken its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft out of rotation until at least July 1.

WATCH: Canada bans Boeing 737 MAX jets from airspace

Story continues below

“At this point, we do not know as Boeing is still preparing the fix and then a number of regulators will have to approve it,” Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick told Global News in an email on Friday.

WestJet, like Air Canada, says it is too early to speculate as to when the MAX aircraft’s software will be updated.

READ MORE: Air Canada flight attendants’ union says crew don’t want to be forced to fly on Boeing 737 MAX 8

“It would be premature for WestJet to speculate on potential timelines regarding Boeing’s proposed software updates to the MAX,” WestJet spokesperson Morgan Bell said in an email to Global News.

“Should we be directed by our regulators to implement any such changes or associated training, we will absolutely take the proper steps to do so.”

Similarly, Westjet has made adjustments to its schedule but says the company is “working diligently” to ensure that the impact of the aircraft groundings is minimal.

WATCH: Lawyers say Lion Air and Ethiopian Air crash should be tried as one

WestJet says its schedules have been fully updated with the removal of 13 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft through June, but schedule changes may still occur.

The airline has continued to use the Boeing 787 Dreamliners to fly between Calgary and Toronto. With 320 seats on board each aircraft, WestJet says it has allowed the airline to free up other aircraft that would otherwise be flying this route so that they can travel to other destinations.

The airline says that despite the fleet challenges, 98 per cent of the airline’s flights have been completed.

A request for comment was sent to Sunwing Airlines — which has grounded its four Boeing 737 MAX aircraft — however, Global News did not hear back by time of publication.

READ MORE: ‘Don’t sink’: 6 minutes of chaos in the cockpit before Ethiopian Airlines’ fatal crash

The investigation into what caused the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which killed 157 people on March 10, is underway.

However, a preliminary report from the investigation confirmed that the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) function was activated during the flight.

WATCH: Boeing CEO apologizes, says new system caused crashes

The same MCAS function was also activated during the Lion Air Flight 610 crash last October.

Both aircraft had an automated system that pushed the nose of the plane down when sensor readings detected the possibility of an aerodynamic stall, but it now appears that sensors malfunctioned on both planes.

READ MORE: Boeing says new software successfully tested on 737 MAX flight

A total of 346 people have been killed as a result of the two incidents.

In a statement, Boeing says a software update for the 737 MAX fleet will be issued worldwide to eliminate the possibility of an unintended MCAS evacuation in the future.

With the new update, flight crews will have the ability to override MCAS and manually control the airplane.

WATCH: Family of victim killed in Ethiopian airlines crash sues Boeing in U.S.

READ MORE: Boeing pledges to earn back trust after Ethiopian Airlines crash investigation

According to Boeing, training materials will also be issued to pilots.

Boeing has vowed to earn back public trust; how exactly that will be done remains to be seen. The software update for the 737 MAX is expected in the coming weeks.

WATCH: Boeing faces inquiries, lawsuits amid probes into deadly crashes

—With files from Jessica Vomiero

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Report an error


Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.