Air Canada adjusts schedule and routes due to 737 Max-related jet shortage

Canada's biggest airline is making adjustments to its flight schedule and temporarily cancelling or delaying some routes now that two dozen of its Boeing planes have been grounded.

Changes made up to the end of June to deal with temporary lack of planes

Air Canada has 24 Boeing Max jets that have been grounded, forcing the airline to adjust its schedule. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

Canada's biggest airline is making adjustments to its flight schedule and temporarily cancelling or delaying some routes as a result of having to ground two dozen of its Boeing planes.

Air Canada said Tuesday is has delayed the launch of a number of planned seasonal routes because it doesn't currently have the jets to service them after 24 of the airline's Boeing 737 Max jets were banned from operating in Canadian airspace. The move by Canadian officials came last month in the wake of two deadly crashes of the jet in six months. 

The airline says it has managed to move things around enough to make sure that 98 per cent of those flights through to the end of May will be covered in some way, but it had to adjust in a few cases beyond that because of the lack of jets.

"Air Canada assures its customers that we are doing everything possible to mitigate the effects of the 737 Max grounding, and we appreciate our customers' patience and flexibility as we continue to work on transporting them safely to their destinations," Air Canada's chief commercial officer, Lucie Guillemette, said. 

The airline says it has extended leases for aircraft that had been scheduled to be removed from its fleet, and was in the process of adding four Airbus jets acquired from WOW Air even before the Icelandic carrier abruptly closed up shop last month.

It's not yet known when the jets will be cleared for takeoff, so Air Canada is among the many airlines adjusting flight plans well into the summer.

Here are the changes that Air Canada has made to its schedule up until the end of June:

  • Two daily flights between Toronto and Calgary have been consolidated onto one larger Airbus A330.
  • A new Toronto to Portland, Oregon, service will now start July 1 instead of May 24.
  • A new Vancouver to Boston service will now start June 16 instead of June 1.
  • A new Calgary to Halifax service will now start July 1 instead of May 18.
  • The seasonal Toronto to Shannon, Ireland, route will be delayed until early July.
  • The seasonal Montreal to Bordeaux, France, service will be delayed until early July.
  • Some Toronto to Edmonton flights will now be served by Rouge.
  • Flights from Halifax and St. John's to London Heathrow are suspended at least until the end of May, but the airline still plans to offer them after that.

"By adjusting our schedule for the month of May, we are providing certainty for our customers so they can continue to book and travel with confidence on Air Canada," Guillemette said.