MIAMI – After a thorough safety review, the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand has given Fiji Airways (FJ) the green light to reintroduce the Boeing 737 MAX on its routes to the country.

The decision came after over two years of grounding, in which FJ was not allowed to use the aircraft type in its regular and charter services to New Zealand following the Ethiopian Airlines (ET) crash in March 2019.

The initial approval covers two of the five 737 MAX 8 that Fiji operates. The other three will also go under a CAA inspection before they can fly to New Zealand again.

Auckland Airport , New Zealand, seen from light plane. Photo: Ingolfson, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

CAA and Fiji Authority ‘Working Together’

Both the NZ CAA and the Fiji Aviation Authority have been cooperating in the safety improvements.

CAA Deputy Chief Executive David Harrison told web portal Asian Aviation that the agencies have “thoroughly and independently reviewed the work undertaken by Fiji Airways to bring their 737 MAX aircraft back into service and are confident these aircraft are safe to return to operation,” adding that “the date for these aircraft being added to flight schedules between New Zealand and Fiji hasn’t yet been decided given the evolving COVID-19 situation.”

On that note, Harrison said that “passengers can be assured that no stone has been left unturned to ensure all the necessary safety improvements have been put in place so that when these aircraft return to New Zealand’s skies, they do so safely.”

Featured image: Fiji Airways Boeing 737 MAX. Photo: Miles Aronovits/Airways