UAE looking to lift ban on Boeing 737 MAX in March 2021

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The United Arab Emirates is looking to lift the ban on Boeing 737 MAX in March 2021. Flydubai will be the major beneficiary of this decision.

The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) in the UAE is planning to open its airspace for the Boeing 737 MAX after an almost two-year ban issued on March 13, 2019. The 737 MAX was banned from flying to and from all UAE airports following the two deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

“The technical committee in the authority is currently working on evaluating the additional requirements that were mentioned in the latest version of the authority’s directive issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The evaluation will be completed within a two-week period, after which a safety decision will be issued in mid-February, which will indicate the expected time stage to restart the plane,” director-general of the GCAA Saif Al Suwaidi told the Khaleej Times.

Al Suwaidi outlined that for the 737 MAX to fly in the UAE airspace, all safety modifications,  including the modernization of the MCAS system and pilot training procedures, have to be made. The GCAA is likely to recertify MAX in March 2021

Flydubai, with 11 Boeing 737 MAX 8 and three Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft in its fleet, will be the most affected UAE carrier. In November 2017, in Dubai Airshow Flydubai signed an agreement with Boeing, placing an order for 175 airplanes ─ MAX 8, MAX 9 and at least 50 737 MAX 10s ─ and purchase rights for 50 additional MAXs. 

“Flydubai continues to work closely with its regulator, the General Civil Aviation Authority. Flydubai’s Boeing 737 MAX aircraft will not rejoin the operational schedule until it has received regulatory approval by the GCAA,” said a spokesperson from Flydubai. 

On November 18, 2020, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States became the first authority to recertify the Boeing 737 MAX. The EASA, Transport Canada (TC), Brazil’s National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC), Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have also recertified the Boeing 737 MAX, allowing it to resume commercial service again.


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