WestJet will temporarily suspend some routes due to the Boeing 737 MAX groundings. As we all know, all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft have been grounded since March. In order to avoid flight disruptions moving forward, the airline has decided to suspend the routes for the time being.
WestJet’s temporary route suspensions
According to a statement by WestJet, in the month of June, the airline’s Boeing 737 MAX aircraft were scheduled to operate over 1,000 flights. Unfortunately, the airline was not able to cover all of the flights with other aircraft. Accordingly, it made the decision to temporarily suspend some routes, although it was able to cover over 700 flights by postponing some aircraft lease returns and adjusting the installation schedule of its premium seats.
WestJet informed passengers of its updated flight schedule via Twitter (see WestJet’s Tweet below).
As the timeline of the MAX grounding remains unknown, pre-emptive updates to our flight schedule have been made to reduce the number of last-minute cancellations and disruption. Our schedules have now been adjusted through July 3, 2019. Read more at https://t.co/o3Y5nt7LPV
— WestJet (@WestJet) April 28, 2019
It looks like the airline is trying to be proactive to minimize flight disruptions and cancellations.
WestJet issued a Guest Advisory noting that the airline has temporarily suspended five routes. Specifically, it has suspended flights between:
- Edmonton and Ottawa (June 3rd through July 3rd)
- Edmonton and Montreal (June 3rd through July 3rd)
- Halifax and Paris (June 3rd through August 2nd)
- Toronto and Kelowna (June 3rd through June 27th)
- Vancouver and Regina (June 3rd and July 3rd)
What do the route suspensions mean for passengers?
WestJet will contact passengers who have purchased tickets for any of these flights. The airline has promised to rebook all passengers either on another flight operated by WestJet or a flight operated by one of its partner airlines.
Passengers traveling between Edmonton and Ottawa or Montreal will be rebooked on WestJet flights via Calgary or Toronto. WestJet will also rebook passengers on the Vancouver – Regina route on WestJet flights via Calgary or Edmonton.
Passengers who have purchased tickets for flights between Toronto and Kelowna will be rebooked on WestJet flights via Calgary, Toronto, or Edmonton. Finally, passengers traveling between Halifax and Paris will either fly on WestJet’s Dreamliner nonstop from Calgary or on one of WestJet’s partner airlines with a stop in Toronto, Montreal, or New York.
How much longer will the Boeing 737 MAX groundings last?
At this time we are not sure how much longer the Boeing 737 MAX groundings will last. According to Boeing, the MCAS update is ready for certification by the FAA, but it’s not clear how long this process will take. Additionally, once the FAA gives its approval, airlines will have to implement the software update on their 737 MAX aircraft. This process might take a while as well.
According to WestJet, “[r]egardless of when the aircraft are approved to return to service, we will provide nothing less than 100 percent assurance to our guests and WestJetters that all processes, procedures and decisions will to be made with safety at the forefront.”
After all, it is most important that the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft will be safe for passengers once they take to the skies again.