MIAMI – State-owned budget airline flydubai (FZ) confirmed yesterday that its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft will resume passenger service on April 8. 

To ensure a safe return to service, the airline is following the fulfillment of all conditions outlined in the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority’s (GCAA) regulatory Safety Decision.

Flydubai operates 14 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and has now been granted regulatory clearance to rejoin the fleet in four of their MAX 8, and one of their MAX 9s. Over the next few months, the remaining nine MAX aircrafts will be reinstated.

A full 20-month analysis followed the return to service of the airline’s Boeing 737 MAX fleet and consisted of the manufacturer, regulators, engineers, scientists, researchers, mechanics, and pilots whose primary goal was to return the aircraft to service in a secured manner.

Flydubai met and exceeded the stringent requirements established by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the EASA, and the UAE’s GCAA, according to the airline. This included software improvements, the completion of a wire-splitting change, pilot training, and comprehensive aircraft reactivation activities.

The GCAA approved the return to service of any MAX aircraft in compliance with the following requirements: 

  • Software upgrades and additional security of the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS)
  • Other flight control system software updates are unrelated; 
  • Modification of the wire separation; 
  • A detailed inspection to guarantee that the aircraft is free of debris; 
  • Enhanced pilot instruction, with both the absolute movement simulator and classroom training; 
  • Conduct operational readiness flights.

According to Flydubai, Dubai International (DXB) to Sialkot International Airport (SKT) will be the first flight operated by one of the carrier’s MAX aircraft, with the flight scheduled to take place on April 8. From then on, the type will fly to other existing destinations. In advance of travel, passengers will be informed if their route now involves a MAX scheduled flight.

flydubai boeing 737 MAX cabin and flight attendant. PHOTO: flydubai.

Comments from flydubai

“We are delighted to see the MAX aircraft rejoin our fleet,” said Hamad Obaidalla, Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) at flydubai, in response to the start of flights. “The plane’s first flight will be from Dubai to Sialkot, but it will then fly to a variety of other flydubai destinations in the coming weeks.”

The CCO added, “We’re excited to bring back our MAX product, which features a spacious lie-flat bed in Business Class and an ergonomically built seat in Economy Class, as well as enhanced in-flight entertainment with full HD touchscreens.”

Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer of flydubai, said of the MAX’s return to passenger service, “The MAX is integral to flydubai’s fleet, and we are confident in the aircraft and its capabilities. I’d like to thank the GCAA for their unwavering commitment to aviation safety, as well as the hard work put in by the flydubai team to ensure the successful return of the 737 MAX to passenger service.”

Featured image: flydubai 737 MAX in Seattle, Wa., US. Photo: flydubai