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Boeing 737 MAX returns to the skies over Canada

WestJet flies Canada's first Boeing 737 MAX flight since the plane was recertified.

A 737 MAX is flying in Canada on Thursday, as Boeing’s once-troubled jet continues its gradual return to service.

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A West Jet MAX-8 flew from Calgary to Vancouver, B.C. Thursday morning. It is the first MAX passenger flight in Canada, since the country ended its grounding earlier this week.

Captain Scott Wilson was at the controls, and said he has no concerns about the safety of the airplane after this flight and his simulator time in Miami.

“Some of the traveling public will have more concerns than others, but time will definitely show the safety of the MAX,” Wilson said. “We believe, based on the additional scrutiny that’s been put into it, this is the safest aircraft in the skies today.”

Captain Wilson believes it will take time and confidence for the public to regain trust in the airplane.

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The MAX was grounded for nearly two years after two deadly crashes and ongoing reports of safety mismanagement. Those two crashes led to the deaths of 346 passengers and crew across a pair of catastrophic flights: Lion Air Flight 610 in late 2018, and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in early 2019. In the months to follow, reports surfaced that the plane had been rushed to market after Boeing and regulators had quietly worked together to standardize a feature that alerted pilots of faulty information from key sensors.

The Federal Aviation Administration recertified the jet in November 2020.

West Jet will fly the MAX three times a week between Calgary and Toronto. Air Canada is expected to return the MAX to passenger service February 1. Europe is expected to lift its grounding of the jet next week.

In the U.S., the jet returned to the air in late December 2020, when an American Airlines 737 MAX flight departed Miami and arrived at La Guardia Airport in New York.

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