WestJet cancels 737 Max flight after warning light triggered

Alicja Siekierska
·2 min read
The flight deck of a WestJet Airlines Boeing 737 Max aircraft is seen after arriving at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., on Thursday, Jan.  21, 2021. The flight from Calgary was the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada since the aircraft was grounded worldwide in 2019 following two deadly crashes.  (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
On Thursday, WestJet airline's flight from Calgary was the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada since the aircraft was grounded worldwide in 2019 following two deadly crashes. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

WestJet Airlines cancelled a flight with the Boeing 737 Max aircraft from Calgary to Toronto on Friday after a warning light went off in the cockpit.

Lauren Stewart, a spokesperson for the Calgary-based airline, said in a statement Friday that WestJet flight WS658 returned to the gate after the aircraft’s “health monitoring system indicated a potential fault that needed to be verified and reset.” Flight WS658 had been scheduled to depart Calgary International Airport at 8 a.m. MT.

“This process takes time and requires a subsequent engine run, which we do not perform with guests on board,” Stewart said in an email, adding that passengers on the flight were rebooked on a Boeing Dreamliner. An engine run is a standard routine checklist testing the operation of an aircraft’s engine systems.

A spokesperson for Transport Canada said in a statement Friday that “this incident is not related to the previous grounding of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft.”

Stewart said “the aircraft was cleared by maintenance this morning and will return to service on Sunday Jan. 24 as planned.”

Friday’s flight was supposed to mark WestJet’s third commercial flight with the aircraft since Transport Canada re-certified the equipment.

Transport Canada allowed the Boeing 737 Max to return to Canadian airspace beginning Wednesday, after nearly two years of government review following two deadly crashes that led to the global grounding of the best-selling jet.

The planes are permitted to fly in Canada as long as they meet conditions specified by Transport Canada in December, including allowing pilots to disable a faulty warning system that was found to be central to the two deadly crashes in 2018 and 2019.

WestJet previously said it would take “a phased approach” for its return-to-service plan. To start, the airline plans to operate three roundtrip flights per week with the Max between Calgary and Toronto. Stewart did not specify if the temporary grounding of the aircraft on Friday will impact the airline’s return to service plan.

Alicja Siekierska is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow her on Twitter @alicjawithaj.

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