Canadian aviation regulators have cleared Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft to return to Canadian skies beginning Wednesday, Jan. 20. The announcement concludes nearly two years of government review after the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two fatal crashes.
According to the announcement from Transport Canada, the aircraft is cleared to fly provided it meet criteria specified by the regulator’s Airworthiness Directive. Transport Canada says the measures go beyond the redesign and training requirements imposed by the US Federal Aviation Administration before the agency rescinded the order grounding the aircraft in November.
The two accidents were blamed in part on the aircraft’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). Input from a malfunctioning sensor caused the MCAS flight control system to mistakenly detect a stall, forcing the nose down and leading to a crash.
In its own Airworthiness Directive, the FAA required Boeing to redesign the MCAS software, plus other aircraft modifications and more pilot training. In addition to the FAA rescinding the order that grounded the aircraft, Brazilian aviation authorities have also recertified the aircraft for operations.
Next week, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency is set to approve the Max to resume flights in Europe, according to news reports quoting Patrick Ky, EASA’s executive director.
Brazilian carrier GOL was the first airline to return the 737 Max to service in mid-December, and American Airlines started operating the jetliner in the US at the end of the month on flights between Miami and New York.
Canadian carrier WestJet has announced that it will return its Boeing 737 Max 8 fleet to service later this month. The airline has 13 of the planes in its fleet, and says it is working with Transport Canada to ensure they will be ready to fly on Jan. 21.
Air Canada, which has 24 Boeing 737 MAX 8s in its fleet, says the aircraft are scheduled to resume operations by Feb. 1.