Maintenance Snag Stops MAX Flight

The return of the Boeing 737 MAX to Canadian skies hit a minor snag on Friday when a WestJet flight using the type had to be cancelled for a maintenance issue. The aircraft was boarded for its flight from Calgary to Toronto when the crew got a light after starting one of the engines. “After a normal engine start, a standard function of the health monitoring system indicated a potential fault that needed to be verified and reset,” WestJet spokesperson Lauren Stewart told CBC News. “This process takes time and requires a subsequent engine run, which we do not perform with guests on board [so] in the interest of our guests’ time, we cancelled Flight 658 and its return 665 (Toronto/Calgary), and we rebooked them on the next available flight to ensure a timely arrival in Toronto.”

The passengers were taken to a gate boarding a 787 for Toronto and were delayed less than an hour, according to the airline. The plane has already been returned to service. It was only the third scheduled flight using a MAX since WestJet resumed flights with the aircraft on Thursday. The first flight was from Calgary to Vancouver and went off without a hitch. In addition to the paying passengers, media and WestJet executives were on board. “While of course this is a very different operating environment than any of us would wish due to COVID-19, we use today as a milestone to look forward to days ahead when all 13 of our Boeing Max 8 aircraft are once again connecting Canadians across the length and breadth of our wonderful country,” CEO Ed Sims told a post-flight news conference. Passengers leery about flying on the MAX can switch flights for free. Air Canada will start MAX service Feb. 1.