WestJet has cancelled orders for 15 of the 42 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft it was planning to buy as it continues to struggle with the pandemic downturn. The airline is operating about the same number of flights as it did 20 years ago, when it was just five years old and has been open about the struggles it faces. Air Canada also cut its MAX order earlier in the pandemic because of its own financial issues. Both airlines have made use of government employment subsidy programs to stay afloat and it is believed that sectoral-specific help is coming soon.
Meanwhile, WestJet says the MAX has a future at WestJet despite an airworthiness grounding that took it out of service for almost two years. WestJet was the first Canadian airline to return the type to service after mandated changes to the design of its automated flight control systems that cause two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia in 2018 and 2019. “WestJet remains committed to our 737 MAX aircraft and have safely returned the first three of our 14 MAX to the fleet,” WestJet spokeswoman Morgan Bell said. Air Canada is flying only one of its MAXes.