Flydubai is preparing for the Boeing 737 MAX to re-join its fleet following the announcement by the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) outlining the aircraft’s return-to-service criteria.
It follows an exhaustive 20-month review involving the manufacturer, regulators, engineers, scientists, researchers, mechanics and pilots whose sole objective has been to safely return the aircraft to service.
“The Boeing 737 MAX is an integral part of Flydubai’s fleet and I have full confidence in the aircraft as it returns to passenger service. Safety is the founding principle of our business. We said that we would only return the aircraft to service when it was safe to do so and that time is now,” said Flydubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith.
“The GCAA has outlined a clear and exacting framework of enhancements and modifications to the aircraft that must be met before returning the aircraft to passenger service along with additional and mandatory pilot training. Flydubai will comply with each and every one of the requirements before we allow the aircraft to re-join our fleet.”
The conclusion and subsequent actions of the review have culminated in the approval to return the aircraft to service by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and other regulators from around the world. The aircraft returns to service having undergone one of the most demanding safety reviews in history.
This has resulted in the successful return to service already observed by operators in the North, Central the South Americas and Europe.
The GCAA’s approval is detailed in a ‘Safety Decision’, which sets out the specific requirements every Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in Flydubai’s fleet must meet:
- Software enhancements and additional protections to the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS);
- Other software updates not related to the flight control system;
- A wire separation modification;
- A thorough inspection to ensure the aircraft are free of debris;
- Pilot training has been enhanced and includes both classroom and full motion simulator training;
- Conduct operational readiness flights.
These changes and enhancements will be validated and form part of the regulator’s approval for the aircraft to enter service.
Flydubai stated that since its fleet of 11 Boeing 737 MAX 8 and three Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft had been grounded, they had been meticulously preserved and undergone continuous maintenance as part of an active aircraft storage programme.
The airline’s engineering and maintenance team is currently implementing the return-to-service work schedule for the aircraft, while every pilot will undergo additional classroom and full motion simulator training before they are permitted to fly the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. This training programme exceeds the regulatory requirements, the carrier stated.
Flydubai said it was too early to announce when its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft would re-enter service and that the routes on the Flydubai network where the aircraft would operate would be announced at a later date.