Airlines won't fly Max 8 in Canada until 2020, at the earliest: How that affects you
Air Canada, Sunwing and now WestJet have said they won't be flying their Max 8 planes this year
Calgary-based WestJet has announced it will keep its Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft out of service during its winter schedule from Nov. 4 to Jan. 5, making it the latest Canadian carrier to commit to keeping the planes grounded until early 2020, at least.
Transport Canada has yet to give the jets permission to fly after Max 8 planes were grounded across the world in March, following two fatal crashes.
WestJet says the changes will show up on its website starting Sept. 8 and those with reservations affected by the update will be notified of any changes to their itinerary.
Air Canada and Sunwing Airlines have already announced they won't be flying their Max 8 planes until next year.
Travel agent Lesley Keyter says those with bookings that might be affected should be diligent about keeping up to date on the status of their flights.
"If they've booked it directly, themselves, with the airline, they need to keep an eye out, keep their booking number, keep going to the website, keep checking their flights," she said.
She also advised to make sure your email is entered properly with the airline's booking system so that you receive any notifications that they send.
WestJet says it will work to substitute other aircraft, where possible, and notes it has maintained 98 per cent of total, planned departures since the Max 8 planes were grounded.
Aviation analyst Rick Erickson isn't expecting major disruptions.
"They've been doing this all throughout the whole of the summer," he said. "That means that they're fairly well equipped to be able to operate with the challenge of quite a few number of seats no longer in their network."
There's still been no word on when the Max 8 might be recertified to fly in Canadian airspace.
With files from Dave Gilson