MIAMI – The UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) is about to give the green light for the return of the Boeing 737 MAX. Operations are expected to start in UAE as early as March 2021, when FlyDubai (FZ), after the grounding, had to ground 14 of its jets.

The Brazilian airline GOL was the first company to resume flight operations with the 737 MAX, exactly on December 9, followed by American Airlines (AA) on December 29. On their part, Canada and EASA gave the green light in late January, and WestJet (WS) and Air Canada (AC) have resumed flying with the Boeing jet.

Just last week, 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), set for 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. 

Boeing 737MAX 7 Test flight Photo: Nick Sheeder/Airways

Statement from GCAA Director-general

Saif Al Suwaidi, director-general of the GCAA, recently said the final decision for the MAX would be made in mid-February. GCAA held a meeting in November where the body discussed the possible return of the MAX.

The airline that benefits from the decision is FZ, the only carrier in the emirates to have the Boeing 737 MAX in its fleet.

Boeing 737MAX 7 Test flight Photo: Brandon Farris/Airways

FlyDubai 737 MAX Order

FlyDubai signed an order for US$27bn in 2017 for 175 Boeing 737 MAX with the option for another 50. While the airline had its entire fleet grounded, it added new routes during the pandemic, expanding its fleet in the process.

Featured image: Boeing 737 MAX 7 Test flight. Photo: Brandon Farris/Airways