The Argentinian Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC, in Spanish) today recertified the Boeing 737 MAX, allowing Aerolíneas Argentinas to use its fleet again. Now, the four Latin American countries with 737 MAX fleets have all allowed the resumption of operations with the type two years to the day after the crash of flight ET302 in Ethiopia.
Aerolíneas Argentinas set to resume MAX flights
On March 16, 2019, the Argentinian Government banned the commercial operations of the Boeing 737 MAX in the country. Of the many domestic airlines Argentina had at that time, only Aerolíneas Argentinas had a fleet of MAX aircraft.
Now, following the steps of several regulators worldwide, Argentina has lifted the grounding of the type.
Aerolíneas Argentinas has four Boeing 737 MAX and a standing order of nine more units, set to be received in the following years. So far, the airline hasn’t announced when it will resume the MAX flights in Argentina. We contacted the carrier but it didn’t confirm when it will use the aircraft again.
Of the four Latin American 737 MAX operators, Aerolíneas has the smallest fleet.
The B737 MAX fleet of Aerolíneas has eight premium economy seats and 162 economy seats. In this video, Aerolíneas shows the cabin of its MAX fleet.
What did ANAC say?
In a short statement, ANAC authorized the commercial flights for the Boeing 737 MAX, both for Aerolíneas Argentinas and for any other airline that wants to operate the type in the Argentinian airspace.
The Argentinian civil aviation authorities reviewed the airworthiness directive issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last year. It also approved the new training protocols that Aerolíneas is set to introduce to its pilots.
How many countries have recertified the MAX?
The process of recertifying the Boeing 737 MAX has been slow worldwide. Nevertheless, the narrowbody is allowed to operate in all of the Americas.
The US was the first country to recertify the MAX back in November. Both Brazil and Mexico followed swiftly, which allowed GOL and Aeromexico to become the first airlines worldwide to restart commercial flights with the aircraft.
Subsequently, Canada, Panama, the Cayman Islands, and Argentina have also recertified the MAX. These four countries have MAX operators in WestJet, Air Canada, Copa Airlines, and Aerolíneas Argentinas. In the US, Alaska Airlines, United Airlines, and American Airlines are also flying the MAX.
In Europe, both the European Union and the UK have allowed the MAX to operate again. Icelandair and TUI fly Belgium, among others, have resumed operations.
Elsewhere, Australia has also recertified the MAX, although it doesn’t have any airline operating the aircraft. Kenya and Nigeria are the only two countries in Africa to have taken this decision. In Asia, Kazakhstan and the UAE have also decreed the MAX can fly again.
In total, 14 airlines have operated passenger flights with the MAX since the aircraft’s return.
What can we expect in Argentina?
Aerolíneas Argentinas should bring back the Boeing 737 MAX as soon as possible. Aerolíneas’ cabin crews are training since January to operate again with the type, according to the local media outlet aviacionline.com.
But, we could also expect other operators to use the MAX in flights to Argentina. Both GOL and Copa Airlines have the sufficient range to reach Buenos Aires with the MAX, so maybe that’s an opportunity going forward.
Have you traveled onboard Aerolíneas Argentinas’ Boeing 737 MAX? How was it? Let us know in the comments.