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Air Canada says MAX 8 jets to remain grounded until Aug. 1

Last Updated Apr 25, 2019 at 9:12 pm EDT

An Air Canada Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft is shown next to a gate at Trudeau Airport in Montreal on March 13, 2019. Air Canada says it is removing its grounded Boeing 737 Max jets from service until at least Aug. 1 in order to provide more certainty for passengers with summer travel plans. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Air Canada says its fleet of 737 MAX 8 aircraft will remain grounded until August 1.

The airline says due to unknown timeline for the return to service of the aircraft, the decision was made to provide customers certainty for booking and travel this summer.

“Final decisions on returning the 737 MAX to service will be based on Air Canada’s safety assessment following the lifting of government safety notices and approval by international regulatory authorities,” Executive Vice President Lucie Guillemette said in a statement issued Thursday.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau grounded all Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplanes in Canada over safety concerns arising from the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight that killed all on board, including 18 Canadians.

Air Canada has 24 MAX 8 aircraft in its fleet, which it used mainly for domestic and U.S. routes. Calgary-based WestJet Airlines Ltd. has 13 Max 8s while Sunwing Airlines operates four Max 8 aircraft.

An advisory on WestJet’s website says guests scheduled to travel on all Boeing MAX aircraft up to and including June 3 have been reaccommodated.

“Due to the unknown end date of the grounding, if your itinerary is affected, you will receive an email from WestJet or your travel agent will be advised.”

The Boeing jetliner has been grounded around the world since mid-March after two crashes killed 346 people. Investigators are focusing on anti-stall software that pushed the planes’ noses down based on erroneous sensor readings.

Chicago-based Boeing said it is working on a software fix to the planes’ anti-stall system.