Air Canada adjusts fleet through end of July to account for 737 Max groundings

Air Canada has adjusted its route schedule and cancelled flights through to the end of July as a result of the grounding of its fleet of two dozen Boeing 737 Max jets.

The airline and its passengers were thrown for a loop in March when Transport Canada ordered the grounding of the jets following two deadly crashes. The problem appears to be with the plane’s software, and safety authorities around the world have ordered the planes can’t fly until the jet maker fixes it.

That was a major headache for Air Canada, which had 24 of the jets in its fleet and was expecting another dozen this summer. Roughly 75 of the airline’s 1,600 flights a day were supposed to be on Max jets, so the impact has reverberated widely.

Finding alternative planes to replace those flights has proved challenging, but the airline has extended leases on six planes it was getting set to remove from its fleet. It has also sped up the integration of six planes it was in the process of buying from defunct Icelandic airline WOW Air and moved other passengers onto other airlines.

Earlier this month, it laid out a number of adjustments it said would be in place until the end of June — including delaying the launch of several seasonal summer routes — and on Thursday the airline says those measures will be in place until the end of July.

It also laid out a few new changes, including:

  • A Montreal to Frankfurt flight May will be now be a Lufthansa flight.
  • Starting June 15, Qatar Airways will operate daily flights between Montreal and Barcelona, and between Montreal and Paris.
  • Starting June 2, Omni Air will fly a daily route between Vancouver and Honolulu and Maui.
  • Air Canada Rouge will take over three flights a day between Montreal and Bordeaux, France.
  • Air Canada Rouge will take over one flight a day between Montreal and Los Angeles.
  • Air Canada Rouge will operate flights to Iceland from Toronto and Montreal.
  • A daily flight between Toronto and Charlottetown will now be on Air Canada Rouge.

“Air Canada is prudently adjusting its schedule and is finalizing arrangements for additional aircraft to transport customers to their destinations,” the airline’s chief commercial officer Lucie Guillemette said in a release. 

“Through these measures, we are giving customers certainty to book their summer travel plans on Air Canada with full confidence. We understand the importance our customers attach to their summer travel and through the actions we are announcing today, Air Canada now has in place a schedule and the capacity to meet travellers’ needs.”