On 18 February 2021, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) based General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) announced the resumption of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft. However, the civil aviation regulator has also proposed few changes to the aircraft before it finally changes.
As the ban lifts from UAE, the Dubai-based airlines- flydubai will also prepare the aircraft for passenger service. And it seems to be the only airline in the Middle East to have been benefited most by this. Flydubai currently owns 14 of these Aircraft and has taken 237 orders of them.
The Boeing 737 Max undergoes an extensive review of two years (20 months) where different parties like manufacturers, regulators, engineers, scientists, researchers, mechanics, and pilots were involved. During the whole review period, they only had one objective – bringing the aircraft safely to the service.
“ The Boeing 737 MAX is an integral part of flydubai’s fleet and I have full confidence in the aircraft as it returns to passenger service. Safety is the founding principle of our business. We said that we would only return the aircraft to service when it was safe to do so and that time is now” Said Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO of flydubai.
During the 20 month review of the Boeing 737 Max, flydubai’s fleet of 11 Boeing 737 Max 8 and 3 Boeing 737 Max 9 were kept grounded under extreme care. The fleets also had regular maintenance as part of an active aircraft storage program. Overall, the prescribed inceptions and checks amounted to 18 hours per aircraft each weak. Additionally, to return the aircraft in the best possible condition, a systematic approach is to be taken over and above the minimum mandatory requirements by the airline.
Several major civil aviation regulators like UK CAA, FAA, Transport Canada, and GCAA have approved the Boeing 737 Max’s return to its airspace. Even though the major regulators have approved the Boeing Max still requires some upgrades before it is ready for passenger service. The requirement includes:
- Software enhancements and additional protections to the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS);
- Other software updates not related to the flight control system;
- A wire separation modification;
- A thorough inspection to ensure the aircraft is free of debris;
- Pilot training has been enhanced and includes both classroom and full-motion simulator training;
- Conduct operational readiness flights.
Ghaith Al Ghaith also expresses his gratitude towards the work of regulators. “The GCAA has played a key role alongside other regulators during the 20-month review of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. We would like to thank the GCAA for their diligent and exhaustive work. The GCAA has outlined a clear and exacting framework of enhancements and modifications to the aircraft that must be met before returning the aircraft to passenger service along with additional and mandatory pilot training. flydubai will comply with each and every one of the requirements before we allow the aircraft to rejoin our fleet,” the CEO said in the announcement.
It’s not sure to say when flydubai’s Boeing 737 will resume their passenger service. However, we can assume, it won’t take much longer once the updates about routes will be announced.