Airlines flying the 108 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft operating in Canada will have to limit the use of an engine anti-icing system to prevent potential catastrophic damage to engine cases, according to a new Transport Canada directive.
The change stems from a directive issued by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) in the US, which was prompted by flight test results showing the use of the engine anti-icing system in dry air for more than five minutes under certain conditions. it can cause overheating and lead to “serious damage to the motor intake cover”. The system prevents ice from forming inside the engine during use.
The damage could cause parts of the engine cover to come loose, which could damage the aircraft’s fuselage and windows. This could cause cabin decompression and pose a hazard to passengers sitting by the window behind the wing. The FAA says there have so far been no reports of these types of failures with aircraft in service.
All aircraft are powered by the LEAP 1B engine manufactured by CFM International, a joint venture between GE Aviation and Safran Aircraft Engines.
The directive, which was published on August 10, takes effect on August 25 and was issued under a provision that allows immediate adoption of a new rule without giving notice or seeking comment before it is issued.
Transport Canada tells Breaking: that they have “reviewed and agree to this Federal Aviation Administration Airworthiness Directive for Canadian-registered aircraft, and it is applicable to Canadian-registered products.”
Directive latest problem facing 737 MAX aircraft
Of the 108 737 MAX jets in Canada, 40 are operated by Air Canada and two are leased to Air Transat. Flair Airlines operates 18 737 MAX aircraft. WestJet and Swoop did not respond to the CBC prior to publication with the number of affected aircraft in their fleets.
Air Canada, WestJet and Flair Airlines acknowledged the directive and said the changes would have no effect on passenger service. Air Transat is working with the leasing provider for its two planes and also said the changes would not affect its schedule.
The directive is just the latest problem facing the 737 MAX, which Canadian airlines now refer to as the 737-8. The plane was grounded around the world in 2019 after two crashes.
During the grounding, Boeing redesigned the plane’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, which was blamed for two high-profile accidents. The FAA allowed the aircraft to return to service in 2020 and Transport Canada followed in 2021.