The Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand gave a green light for the Boeing 737 MAX return to the country’s airspace.

According to the CAA’s announcement released on June 24, 2021, the authority’s approval initially covers 2 out of 5 Boeing 737 MAX planes from the Fiji Airways fleet. The remaining 3 airline’s jets of the type will have to wait for a separate approval before returning to operations in the country.

Before making a decision, the CAA of New Zealand cooperated with the CAA of Fiji and completed a comprehensive safety review to ensure that all the necessary improvements have been successfully implemented on the two Fiji Airways’ planes. The CAA‘s approval means that Fiji Airways, the only MAX operator which used to serve airports of New Zealand before the jet grounding in 2019, will now be able to resume operations in the country.

It also means that the airline is allowed to re-activate its two Boeing 737 MAX 8s, registered as DQ-FAB and DQ-FAD, which had been temporarily put in storage at Alice Springs, Australia, since the MAX grounding in 2019.

“We have thoroughly and independently reviewed the work undertaken by Fiji Airways to bring their 737 MAX aircraft back into service and are confident these aircraft are safe to return to operation,” the CAA Deputy Chief Executive David Harrison was quoted in the authority‘s statement.

“The date for these aircraft being added to flight schedules between New Zealand and Fiji hasn’t yet been decided given the evolving COVID-19 situation. [...] But passengers can be assured that no stone has been left unturned to ensure all the necessary safety improvements have been put in place so that when these aircraft return to New Zealand’s skies, they do so safely,” he added.

The recent approval comes more than two years after the CAA of New Zealand followed the example of other world’s countries and banned the Boeing 737 MAX from its airspace in March 2019.