Qatar Airways has begun operating the Boeing 737 MAX commercially after taking delivery of its first aircraft of the type in April 2023.
The Boeing 737 MAX, registered as A7-BSC, began operating commercial flights on May 9, 2023, flying from Doha Hamad International Airport (DOH), Qatar, to Kuwait International Airport (KWI). The aircraft completed four flights on May 9, returning to operate flights on the same route on May 10, 2023.
Qatar Airways took delivery of the aircraft on April 13, 2023. The narrow-body jet flew from Everett Paine Field (PAE), Washington, the United States (US), stopping at Keflavik International Airport (KEF), Iceland, before finally arriving at DOH on April 14, 2023.
Between April 24, 2023, and May 8, 2023, the aircraft was spotted on multiple test flights from and to Doha International Airport (DIA), as well as from DIA to DOH and back again, presumably so crews were able to familiarize themselves with the aircraft.
Another Boeing 737 MAX, registered as A7-BSE, landed at DOH on May 3, 2023, suggesting that it would also soon begin flying commercially. Meanwhile, ch-aviation.com data shows that another five aircraft of the type are scheduled to be delivered to the airline: A7-BSB, A7-BSF, A7-BSG, A7-BSH, and A7-BSI.
A7-BSB, per flightradar24.com data, operated two test flights on May 9, 2023. It also flew from Portland International Airport (PDX), where Boeing’s painting facilities are located, to PAE on May 1, 2023.
All seven Boeing 737 MAX currently assigned to Qatar Airways were already-built airframes and were initially destined for S7 Airlines, a Russia-based carrier. However, the aircraft were not taken up (NTU) due to sanctions imposed on the country’s aviation sector due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Furthermore, the Boeing 737 MAX has been grounded by Russian authorities since March 2019. Following the second fatal crash of the type, many civil aviation authorities prohibited the aircraft from being flown with passengers. Beginning with the United States (US) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in November 2020, regulators have allowed the aircraft to return to service, including China where the 737 MAX was spotted flying commercially once again in January 2023.