Canadian carriers WestJet and Air Canada are planning to resume operations with the Boeing 737 MAX within the next two weeks. It seems that the airlines have big plans for the aircraft, scheduling the type on seven-hour transatlantic hops from March onwards.
In November, the Boeing 737 MAX was recertified by the US Federal Aviation Administration. Tomorrow, Canada is set to become the latest nation to follow suit in ungrounding the type. This will allow carriers to resume services domestically. However, for the time being, many carriers are limited by the fact that the MAX is still grounded in neighboring countries. Canadian airlines will be able to fly their MAX aircraft to the US, but what about elsewhere?
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A seven-hour Boeing 737 MAX flight
According to its booking engines, Air Canada will operate the Boeing 737 MAX 8 on Halifax flights to London Heathrow Airport from late March. The flight will initially operate from Halifax on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, at the following times,
- AC816 departs Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ) at 00:30. After a five-hour, 55-minute flight, it will touch down at London Heathrow at 10:25.
- AC817 departs London Heathrow at 12:40. After a six-hour, 40-minute flight, it will arrive back in Halifax at 15:20.
WestJet follows suit
From April 25th, WestJet is selling tickets for its non-stop route from Halifax to London. Rather than scheduling one of its three-class widebodies on the route, WestJet is opting for something a little smaller, the Boeing 737 MAX 8. The aircraft choice was spotted by Twitter’s AviosAdventurer. According to the airline’s booking engine, it will operate to the following schedule,
- Westjet flight 24 will depart Halifax at 22:30. Following a five-hour, 56-minute flight, the 737 MAX 8 is due to land at London Gatwick Airport (LGW) at 08:26 the next morning.
- At 10:10, flight WS25 will depart Gatwick bound for Canada. It is due to fly for six hours and 46 minutes, landing back in Halifax at 12:56.
All these flights are, of course, subject to change.
Some challenges remain
While the flights are scheduled, a couple of challenges remain before the MAX returns to flights between Canada and London. Firstly, the entire route will depend on the United Kingdom, lifting its Boeing 737 MAX ban.
However, there also remains the ongoing impact of the current travel situation. It’s impossible to say which travel restrictions will apply in March and April, given how quickly they’re changing. It could be the case that at the time, the airlines decide to condense flights and reroute passengers via their significant hubs.
If the flights do go ahead as planned, Air Canada could be the first to fly the Boeing 737 MAX to London Heathrow following the type’s ungrounding. At the time of the aircraft’s grounding, only five 737 MAX aircraft were registered in the United Kingdom.
Would you take a seven-hour transatlantic Boeing 737 MAX flight? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!