LONDON – Prague-based LCC Smartwings (QS) revealed its first intra-European flight with the Boeing 737 MAX between Václav Havel Airport Prague (PRG) and Palma de Mallorca (PMI) on February 25. By operating this scheduled flight, the Czech airline will become the first European carrier to operate the recently re-certified Boeing 737 MAX.
Smartwings has seven (7) 737 MAX aircraft in its fleet and has filed an order for 32 more to be delivered in the following four (4) years. The Seattle-based aircraft manufacturer delivered the first aircraft to QS in January 2018 but the type was grounded by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) soon after the infamous fatal accidents.
However, the airline kept operating the model on several test flights to be ready for the type’s recertification.
In Europe, both EASA and the UK have recertified the aircraft and after statements that there will be close monitoring of the 737 MAX operations, airlines are once again able to use the aircraft.
More European Airlines to Start Boeing 737 MAX Operations
Following the example of QS, other European airlines presented their schedules using the Boeing 737 MAX equipment. Scandinavian low-cost carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle (DY) introduced its route plans from Oslo (OSL) to Stockholm Arlanda (ARN) and OSL to Hamburg (HAM) by using the 737 MAX. Other connections include OSL to Billund (BLL), Gdansk (GDN), Krakow (KRK), Munich (MUC), and Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG), as well as ARN to Copenhagen (CPH) and Umea (UME).
Moreover, Icelandair (FI) will also initiate operations using the 737 MAX. Based on Reykjavík Keflavík Airport (KEF), the airline will operate the MAX aircraft on routes to Berlin (BER), New York Newark (EWR), London Gatwick (LGW) and Zurich (ZRH).
All the above routes will start from March 1; however, the COVIDD-19 travel restrictions create an uncertain environment and they could eventually change.
Featured image: SmartWings OK-SWA. Boeing 737-8 MAX. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways