UPDATE 8:55 a.m.
WestJet has reached out to Castanet to let us know that in spite of Transport Canada grounding all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft effective Wednesday, over 92 per cent of its fleet is operating as usual.
WestJet executive vice-president and chief commercial officer Arved von sur Muehlen said, “We are fully complying with this decision and have taken the necessary steps to safely ground all 13 Boeing MAX aircraft currently in service.
“We’d like to reassure you that while there may be some interruptions to our schedule as we mitigate the impact of this decision, you can book with confidence knowing that WestJet continues to fly throughout our network with the safety of guests and employees at the forefront.”
ORIGINAL 5:00 a.m.
Canada and the U.S. have now joined dozens of countries in grounding the Boeing 737 MAX 8, but what does that mean for YLW?
Kelowna International Airport manager Sam Sammadar describes the situation as dynamic.
”You have got almost 50 aircraft out of the Canadian fleet that have been taken out of the system, and we do have some of the 737 MAX that transit through this airport.”
Not all airlines are affected in the same way.
”If we look at WestJet, for example, 92 per cent of their fleet is actually still in operation, and so it may mean slightly different things for different airlines based on how many MAX aircraft they have in operation,” Sammadar said.
Typically, one MAX 8 flies in and out of Kelowna per day. YLW says passengers will have to be re-accommodated. And there will be some disruptions.
March also marks YLW’s third busiest month of the year.
”We are just coming through the Ontario spring break and we are heading into B.C.’s spring break this weekend,” Sammadar said.
”Safety is always paramount. And whether it’s the airlines, Transport Canada, or the airports, we are all working in this together in terms of ensuring there is a safe environment.”
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