WestJet faces delays to new planes amid Boeing woes | Airlines

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Canadian carrier WestJet is reportedly facing indefinite delays on dozens of new aircraft deliveries, according to the carrier. The delays result from ongoing quality issues in the Boeing 737 MAX final assembly line at the manufacturer’s plant in Renton, Washington brought to light by the Alaska Airlines incident in January 2024 involving a 737 MAX 9 aircraft.  

The Calgary-based carrier ordered 42 Boeing 737 MAX 10 aircraft in 2022, with options for a further 22 planes. These orders supplemented an existing order that WestJet had placed previously for additional MAX aircraft which are yet to be delivered to the carrier.  

These multibillion-dollar orders were purchased to bolster WestJet’s fleet by at least 65 planes (with 50 of them being the MAX 10 variant) by 2029. The airline previously stated that the orders for the MAX 10s would be a “game-changer” that would reduce fuel costs and “underpin” the airline’s future growth. However, the 737 MAX 10 is yet to be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and after the door plug blowout on the Alaska Airlines plane, US regulators have said they would halt production expansion at Boeing until safety concerns were sufficiently addressed. 

The FAA grounded all US-registered 737 MAX 9s for inspection following the Alaska Airlines incident which occurred on January 5, 2024. It has since issued a preliminary report into the incident that found four crucial locking bolts missing from the airframe that had been removed on Boeing’s final assembly line and never replaced. The MAX 9 has since been cleared to return not the skies by the FAA. 

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“We continue to work closely with Boeing on all aspects of aircraft delivery and timelines,” said WestJet spokesperson Madison Kruger. “We believe our order book and fleet planning have the built-in flexibility to support WestJet’s growth plans.”  

The 65 new aircraft ordered by WestJet amount to almost 60% of…

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