Monday, April 05, 2021

Flydubai seeks India’s nod to operate Boeing 737 MAX for flights

New Delhi: UAE budget carrier flydubai has sought India’s nod to operate the Boeing 737 Max aircraft for flights to and from the country, say sources. The Dubai-based airline will start operating the Max from Friday (April 8). India, which has 18 Max of SpiceJet and erstwhile Jet Airways parked here, is yet to approve this grounded-since March 2019 aircraft to fly in its airspace again after carrying out the required corrective modifications.

“flydubai will only operate its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in airspace where the regulator has approved it for passenger service,” the airline told TOI. While it did not comment on seeking Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) nod to use this aircraft between Dubai and Indian cities where it flies to, sources in the know say this permission has been sought and a word from authorities here is awaited.

Flydubai says “passengers will be notified in advance of travel if their itinerary now includes a flight that is scheduled to be operated by a Max.” The UAE carrier will resume Max operations by flying from Dubai to Sialkot this Friday and “the aircraft will operate to other existing flydubai destinations from this date onwards.”

Boeing had recently begun “return to service” modification work on the five B737 Max in India that now-defunct Jet Airways had in its fleet. Once complete, the two foreign lessors of these five planes will seek India’s nod to either fly them to their home countries or to new customers abroad. This modification work has not started on the 13 Max of SpiceJet as the Indian budget airline says that process can happen only after the Indian DGCA approves of the changes.

The Max were globally grounded in March 2019 soon two Max crashed within five months. In all, 346 people died in these two crashes. Since last December, the B737 Max has been allowed to fly again by regulators in some places like the US and Europe after carrying out the required changes in software and hardware.

Some neighbouring countries have also allowed the Max to fly again after carrying out required safety modifications. India will be in the range for airline of these countries like flydubai, Oman Air and Singapore Airlines.

05/04/21 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

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