Low-cost carrier Flydubai has confirmed it will relaunch its 14-strong fleet of Boeing 737 Max aircraft, with the first passenger service scheduled to commence on April 8.

The decision comes after the aircraft received approval for a return to service from the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA). It also follows similar developments worldwide, with 14 carriers now operating flights using the 737 Max.

Flydubai plans to initially reintroduce four of its Max 8s and one of its Max 9s to its regional route network, while its remaining nine Max aircraft will return to passenger service over the coming months.

The aircraft’s first route will be Dubai International (DXB) to Sialkot International Airport (SKT) in Pakistan. The aircraft will operate to other existing flydubai destinations from this date onwards. Passengers will be notified in advance of travel if their itinerary now includes a flight that is scheduled to be operated by a Max.

Commenting on the return of the Max aircraft to passenger service, Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO of flydubai, said: “The Max is integral to Flydubai’s fleet and we are confident in the aircraft and its capabilities. I would like to commend the GCAA for their tireless pursuit of air safety and the diligent work undertaken by the Flydubai team to ensure the safe return of the Max aircraft to passenger service.”

The 737 Max ranks among the most controversial passenger aircraft to be put into service, with the plane involved in two fatal air crashes within the space of six months prior to its grounding in March 2019.

The aircraft has undergone a raft of major revisions following consultations between Boeing and international regulators. Major changes have included new flight software and a wire separation modification, according to Boeing.

Commenting on the start of flights, Hamad Obaidalla, CCO of Flydubai, said: “We are pleased to see the MAX aircraft rejoin our fleet. While the aircraft’s first flight will be from Dubai to Sialkot, they will operate to a number of Flydubai’s destinations over the coming weeks. We look forward to reintroducing our Max product which includes a spacious lie flat bed in Business Class and an ergonomically designed seat in Economy Class and improved in-flight entertainment with full HD touchscreens.”