While waiting for Canadian regulators to approve the Boeing 737 MAX passenger flights in Canadian airspace, Air Canada (ADH2) has already started training flights on the aircraft.

Transport Canada, the governmental department responsible for developing regulations of air transportation of the country, granted the approval for the Canadian flag carrier to begin training flights on the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. According to FlightRadar24.com data, Air Canada (ADH2) has recently completed two Boeing 737 MAX 8 test flights. 

Boeing 737 MAX 8, registered as C-GEIV, was operating the training flight on the route from Montreal–Trudeau International Airport (YUL) to Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ) in the early hours of December 8, 2020. The aircraft took off at 7:30 a.m (UTC) and after flying a distance of 806 kilometers, landed at 10:05 a.m (UTC) at YHZ airport. According to the flight record, the training operation numbered as AC2336, took one and a half hours. 

Meanwhile, on the same day and almost at the same time, another Air Canada Boeing 737 MAX 8 started its training flight procedures at Edmonton International Airport (YEG). The aircraft, registered as C-FSNU, was spotted taking off from YEG airport at 8:00 a.m (UTC) heading to Vancouver International Airport (YVR) airport. 

The C-GEIV and C-FSNU have already completed several training flights from December 2 until December 6, their flight history shows. 

Pascale Dery, the Director of Media Relations at Air Canada (ADH2), confirmed to AeroTime News that the airline received Transport Canada’s approval for training operations on the MAX, but could not specify the exact date when the airline’s Boeing 737 MAX fleet could be reactivated for passenger flights.

“We are awaiting for Canadian regulators to approve the operation of the aircraft in Canadian airspace, after which we will finalize our own plans to re-operate the aircraft. [Currently held Boeing 737 MAX] training flights are fully approved by Transport Canada,” Dery wrote in a statement to AeroTime.

The Canadian air carrier has made changes of its initial Boeing 737 MAX order. According to Dery, Air Canada (ADH2) amended its agreement with Boeing,  10 Boeing 737 MAX 8s from its previous order of 50 aircraft in early November 2020. The remaining 16 MAXs were scheduled to be delivered to Air Canada (ADH2) over the period of late 2021 to 2023. As part of this amendment, the airline also canceled previous options for eight aircraft as well as rights to purchase an additional 30 Boeing 737 MAX jets.

Air Canada (ADH2) had a firm order for 61 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, comprising 33 737 MAX 8 and 28 737 MAX 9 aircraft, with substitution rights between them as well as for the 737 MAX 7 aircraft. It also provided options for 18 aircraft and certain rights to purchase an additional 30 aircraft. The initial purchase agreement was concluded in 2014.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), ungrounded the Boeing 737 MAX back on November 18, 2020. The airliner was allowed to return to passenger services following 20 months of hibernation after the second fatal accident involving the aircraft type in Ethiopia in March 2019. The Brazilian National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) followed the FAA’s example and reauthorized the operation of the Boeing 737 MAX in Brazil on November 25, 2020. Transport Canada is yet to unground the aircraft. Previously, the authority revealed it was preparing conditions for the airliner’s return to service that would contain some differences from the FAA’s condition. 

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While the FAA has given the Boeing 737 MAX the go-ahead to once again operate commercial flights, Transport Canada (TC) indicated that differences between the two authorities have not yet allowed to un-ground the aircraft in Canada.