July 30, 2019 7:28 pm

Air Canada grounds Boeing 737 MAX jets up to January 2020

WATCH: (June 27) Boeing said that it will take until at least September to fix a newly identified problem on its grounded 737 MAX, delaying the jet's return to service until October at the earliest.

A A

Air Canada has decided to ground its fleet of 24 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft up to Jan. 8, 2020 — four months longer than the company expected to do so, said a Tuesday news release.

The company said it is grounding the planes in compliance with Transport Canada’s safety notice, which closed Canadian airspace to the planes after two of them crashed within five months.

WATCH: (July 17) Toronto father: scrap 737 MAX, Boeing execs should quit

As part of its move to extend the planes’ grounding, Air Canada said it is offering a full fee waiver for affected customers, that it’s working to rebook flights as soon as possible, and is warning travellers to expect delays as they try to change their plans.

Air Canada initially expected to ground the planes until August, after previously grounding them until July 1.

The company joined Southwest Airlines in extending the grounding until next year.

READ MORE: FAA says new potential risk identified on Boeing 737 MAX jets


Story continues below

Southwest Airlines announced in its second-quarter earnings that it would “proactively extend the MAX-related flight schedule adjustments through Jan. 5, 2020, to provide reliability of our operation and dependability for our customers booking their fall and holiday travel.”

Southwest is assuming that the 737 MAX will receive regulatory approval to start flying again in the fourth quarter.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in June that Boeing has to address a new potential risk on its 737 MAX jets before they can take to the sky again.

That risk was discovered during a simulator test.

WATCH: (June 26) FAA identifies new risk on Boeing 737 MAX

An FAA test pilot ran scenarios in an effort to intentionally activate a stall-prevention system known as MCAS, which was identified as an issue in the crashes of flights by Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines.

In the Lion Air crash, pilots were believed to have lost control of the flight after software kept pointing the plane’s nose down.

The Ethiopian Airlines crash was also linked to the MCAS system.

READ MORE: Transport Canada tackling Boeing 737 MAX’s ‘unacceptable’ flight control failure

In the latest test, a pilot had difficulty recovering the stabilizer trim system in one instance when MCAS was activated.

Boeing told the FAA at the time of the test that it believes a software upgrade can help solve the problem.

Around that time, Transport Canada said it knew of an “unacceptable failure” in the Boeing 737 MAX 8’s updated flight control computer that would extend the planes’ timeline to return to service.

— With files from Reuters

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

Report an error

Comments

Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.