Toronto, Edmonton take biggest hit in Westjet Max cancellations

A Westjet Boeing 737-700 departs Vancouver International Airport (photo: Brett Ballah).

Once considered one of four key markets for Canada’s Westjet, Edmonton International Airport is taking the biggest proportional hit from the airline this winter as it extends the Boeing 737 Max grounding through February 4.

The Alberta capital will lose 29 weekly flights in January, including seeing its service to Phoenix cut by more than 50 per cent.

Toronto, which is a much larger hub for Westjet, will lose 32 weekly flights, with flights to Kelowna, British Columbia being cut from 13 weekly flights to seven.

Westjet outlined the information in a blog post Wednesday. The airline previously announced major cuts to routes to the United States and Mexico from the Canadian Prairies.

Airlines have been scrambling since March to replace capacity when the Boeing 737 Max was grounded around the world following a pair of fatal crashes. Investigators have concentrated on a flight control software as a contributing factor to the crashes.

In this round, Westjet has cancelled 14 weekly flights to the United States, including all service from Edmonton and Calgary to Honolulu, and from Edmonton to Maui. Customers have been rebooked through Vancouver.

“We understand the uncertainty our guests, WestJetters and partners have faced, and we thank them again for their continued patience,” the airline said. “We look forward to returning the aircraft, safer than ever, to the skies.”

Rival Air Canada has removed the Max from its schedule until Valentine’s Day, and Sunwing has dropped its four Max aircraft through the entire winter season.

Canadian airports have been struggling in 2019, with a significant number reporting falling passenger counts. Edmonton’t traffic dropped four per cent over the busy summer months from record numbers in 2018.

Categories: Edmonton, Toronto