Almost two years after the flight ban, another Boeing 737 Max aircraft with passengers on board took off on a regular scheduled flight. According to media reports, the Brazilian airline Gol completed its first domestic flight by plane on Wednesday. The company had previously announced that it would be using the 737 Max again on domestic connections from São Paulo on Wednesday. By the end of December, Gol wants to have all of its seven machines of this type back into regular flight operations.
The machines of this type of aircraft were withdrawn from service in March 2019 after two crashes with 346 dead. In October 2018 a 737 Max of the Indonesian airline Lion Air crashed; five months later, an Ethiopian Airlines plane had an accident under similar circumstances. The result: a total of 346 dead. After a worldwide flight ban for the type and lengthy investigations, a faulty control program and other technical defects were identified as the causes of the accident.
After a series of technical changes and improvements to the software, the US aviation authority FAA and the Brazilian aviation authority ANAC approved the re-use of the Boeing 737 Max. Around 140 pilots in the USA have been trained on the modified aircraft type, as Gol announced. Before the first commercial flight, Gol had made a series of test flights.
“We are pleased to see the Boeing 737 Max return to our fleet. It is one of the most efficient aircraft in aviation history and is the only aircraft that has undergone a full recertification process, ensuring the highest level of safety and reliability,” said the President of Gol, Paulo Kakinoff.
In other countries, too, the airlines are preparing to restart the controversial aircraft type. At the beginning of December, American Airlines conducted a public test flight with 90 media representatives on board. The largest US airline wants to start offering regular flights with the 737 Max again from December 29th. When the no-fly began, American had 25 passenger planes of the type in its fleet.
In Europe, the 737 Max is not yet back in the air, but the European aviation authority EASA has recently given its approval. In addition, the re-approval by the national aviation authorities is still pending. Regardless of this, the European low-cost carrier Ryanair signed an order for up to 75 more 737 Maxs at the beginning of December. This increases Ryanair’s order form to 210 aircraft of this type. (With material from the dpa) /