Air Canada and WestJet have both pushed back the return of their Boeing 737 MAX aircraft until June but there is some confusion on when the planes might be certified to fly again. Last week Boeing announced it didn’t expect approval for the aircraft until the middle of the year. But a few days later, after meeting with the CEOs of three major American airlines, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said Boeing was doing well addressing issues with the aircraft and he expected recertification earlier than that although he didn’t say when. Transport Canada has also indicated it will be reviewing the FAA’s recertification and issuing its own approval to return to revenue service.
Another issue, particularly for WestJet and Sunwing, the third Canadian carrier with the MAX, will be whether simulator training is required. The aircraft was initially sold as having a common type certificate with the NG series of 737s meaning sim training wasn’t required. Boeing has since changed its tune and is now recommending sim training ahead of a return to service. Only a handful of MAX simulators are available and Air Canada has one of them because it didn’t operate the earlier model. WestJet does not have a MAX simulator and will have to join the line of other carriers looking for time on sims owned by other airlines.