Flydubai returns UAE’s only Boeing 737 MAX to passenger service


The United Arab Emirates low-cost carrier flydubai returns five of its 14 Boeing 737 MAX to passenger service.

The United Arab Emirates low-cost carrier flydubai returns five of its 14 Boeing 737 MAX to passenger service. On April 8, 2021, the airline operated its first flight with the aircraft from Dubai International (DXB) to Sialkot International Airport (SKT). The first flight, FZ 327, departed at 06:30 and landed at 10:12, while four other MAXs were due to operated flights to Karachi, Multan, and Tehran during the course of the day, according to the airline.

The aircraft registered as A6-FMJ was used to operate the flight FZ317 to Multan (MUX) in Pakistan while the aircraft registered as A6-FMI operated flights FZ241 and FZ242 to and back from Tehran (IKA) in Iran. Another MAX is also expected to operate a flight to Karachi (KHI), Pakistan, later in the day, data shows.

The air carrier announced that the first five of its 14 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft completed operational readiness flights and were approved by the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) to return to service in a statement on the same day.

The remaining nine MAX aircraft would be reintroduced to the fleet one by one every 10 days. That means that the full fleet of flydubai MAX could be operational by mid-July 2021.

“The primary objective for everyone involved has been to safely return the aircraft to passenger service and we were pleased to see our passengers once again enjoy the exceptional product on our MAX fleet,” Chief Commercial Officer of flydubai Hamad Obaidalla said in the statement. 

The GCAA lifted the ban for the Boeing 737 MAX on February 21, 2021. At the time, the authority outlined conditions that operators must meet before they can place the aircraft type for passenger service.

The conditions include updating the software onboard the aircraft, including an update to the infamous Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), pilot retraining on the adjusted flight training module, which includes flying in a Boeing 737 MAX simulator, and completing an operational readiness flight and receive a flight permit from the GCAA.

So far, 233 of flydubai pilots completed the additional classroom and simulator training, according to the statement. The air operator did not outline how many pilots will have to complete the training in total, instead stating that the training programme would continue until all of the pilots receive regulator-approved MAX aircraft training.

flydubai is the only airline in the country that flies the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Prior to the groundings following the second fatal crash in Ethiopia in March 2019, Boeing had delivered 11 Boeing 737 MAX-8 and three 737 MAX-9 aircraft to the Dubai-based airline. In total, flydubai has 251 aircraft of the type on order, per latest Boeing Orders & Deliveries data, as of January 31, 2021.

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