Airlines shift planes to get March Break travellers home amid Max 8 grounding


TORONTO — Two Canadian airlines dealing with the grounding of Boeing Max 8 jets say they have re-assigned other planes to accommodate travellers returning home from March Break vacations.

Both Air Canada and WestJet say they shifted planes to focus on north-south routes as travellers return from vacations in Mexico and the Caribbean.

The airlines say the loss of the Boeing jets still caused the cancellation of a number of domestic flights over the weekend, as well as delays on customer support lines.

West Jet says the changes resulted in the cancellation of 14 flights today affecting approximately 1,600 passengers, with the majority re-booked on flights today or tomorrow.

Air Canada did not say how many of its flights had been cancelled but acknowledged “capacity challenges” on domestic flights where some customers were delayed.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau grounded the planes on Wednesday as a precautionary move, three days after the Ethiopian Airlines disaster that killed all 157 people on board, including 18 Canadians.

Air Canada has 24 Max 8s and WestJet has 13 — six per cent and seven per cent of their fleets of 400 and 175 aircraft, respectively.

The Canadian Press


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