(Air Canada Boeing MAX 737/skiesmag.com)

Air Canada has decided to remove all of its Boeing 737 Max aircraft from service until at least July 1st, after grounding the planes last week in compliance with Transport Canada guidelines.

In a release, Canada’s largest airline stated that the measure is being taken to make flight planning easier and “to provide customers certainty for booking and travel”.

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On Sunday, March 13th,  a deadly plane crash in Ethiopia claimed the lives of 157 people,  18 of whom were Canadian citizens.

In the wake of the incident, Transport Canada followed in the footsteps of most other nations, and grounded all commercial Boeing 737 MAX 8 airline flights in the country as a precautionary measure.

Air Canada has since been substituting different aircrafts in place of the Boeing MAX 737s, chartering other carriers like Air Transat to provide extra capacity, and adding new aircraft into its fleet.

However, the Canada’s largest airline has had to temporarily halt service to on certain routes for which substitutions were not readily available. These include flights from Halifax and St. John’s to London, Heathrow, and seasonal flights from Vancouver to Kona, Lihue, and Calgary to Palm Springs, California.

“The Boeing 737 MAX accounted for six per cent of Air Canada’s total flying, but there is a domino effect from removing the 737s from our fleet that impacts the schedule and ultimately will impact some customers. We have been working very hard to minimize that impact,” said Lucie Guillemette, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Air Canada.

“Customers who have travel plans between now and July can be reassured that we will keep them informed every step of the way as we revise our schedule.”

Changes in flight times and flight numbers will be emailed to all passengers who have finalized itineraries. The information will also be available in My Bookings on the Air Canada app or website.

Travellers affected by the service changes can take advantage of the airline’s rebooking policy (with full fee waiver) and a refund option by contacting Air Canada at 1-833-354-5963 for information within 72 hours of their planned flight.

After Transport Canada’s announcement to close Canadian airspace for all Boeing MAX 737 aircrafts, WestJet – the country’s second-largest airline – stated that it had rebooked over 65,000 passengers originally scheduled to fly on the grounded aircrafts.

Both airlines are now reconsidering their financial estimates for 2019.

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