January 22, 2020 / 2:18 PM / a month ago

Air Canada to not fly the MAX until June 30

FILE PHOTO: Two Air Canada Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircrafts are seen on the ground as Air Canada Embraer aircraft flies in the background at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

(Reuters) - Air Canada (AC.TO) said on Wednesday it has removed Boeing’s (BA.N) 737 MAX from its flight schedule until June 30, 2020, a day after the U.S. planemaker warned the grounded jet would not win regulatory approval until mid-year.

The Canadian airline, which has 24 MAX aircraft in its fleet, said the decision was based on operational considerations after Boeing revealed that the MAX’s return to service would be further delayed.

The final decision on the aircraft’s return would be based on the company’s safety assessment, following a green light from the government and approval by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Transport Canada, Air Canada said.

The country’s biggest carrier had previously said it would not fly the MAX until Feb. 14, 2020.

Boeing on Tuesday flagged potential developments in the MAX certification process and regulatory scrutiny on its flight control system.

Following the announcement, Canada’s WestJet Airlines said it would remove the MAX from its schedule through June 24.

Expecting approval in the first quarter, American Airlines Group Inc (AAL.O), United Airlines Holdings Inc (UAL.O) and Southwest Airlines Co (LUV.N) had scheduled MAX flights in early June, but are now expected to extend their timelines.

The 737 MAX has been grounded worldwide since mid-March, as Boeing updates its flight control software at the center of two crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that together killed 346 people within a span of five months.

Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi

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