Canada to lift ban on Boeing 737 Max on January 20

Transport Canada issued an Airworthiness Directive for the jet, outlining the required modifications to be made to the aircraft

FILE PHOTO: A Boeing 737 MAX airplane lands after a test flight at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, U.S. June 29, 2020. REUTERS/Karen Ducey/File Photo
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Canada is set to lift a 22-month ban on Boeing's 737 Max on January 20, following the US and Brazil in approving the embattled jet as fit to fly.

Transport Canada issued an airworthiness directive for the 737 Max which outlines the required modifications to be made to the aircraft prior to its return to service in Canadian airspace, the regulator said in a statement on January 18.

“Over the last 20 months, Transport Canada’s civil aviation safety experts, by their rigour and thoroughness, have ensured the safety concerns the department had identified have been addressed," Omar Alghabra, Canada's Minister of Transport, said. "Canadians and the airline industry can rest assured that Transport Canada has diligently addressed all safety issues prior to permitting this aircraft to return to service in Canadian airspace.”

Air Canada will resume flights using the Boeing 737 Max on February 1, the airline said in a statement.

The 737 Max will gradually return to Air Canada’s North American route network as the airline continues to optimise its narrow body fleet, it said.

Airlines in the US and Brazil began to restart commercial flights with the 737 Max at the end of last year, after regulators in the countries cleared the plane's return.

Transport Canada also said it issued an an interim order to operators that indicates its expectations and requirements for additional crew training, in addition to the design and maintenance requirements stated in the airworthiness directive.

The Canadian regulator said it worked extensively with the US Federal Aviation Administration and other key certifying authorities, including the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil (ANAC), as well as Canadian airline operators, crews and union associations on the implementation of these measures.

Transport Canada has confirmed that Canadian operators are implementing the required measures and will be ready for the return to service of the aircraft in the coming days and weeks.

Boeing's best-selling narrow-body workhorse is returning to the skies after the fleet was grounded globally in March 2019 following two fatal crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia that killed a total of 346 people.