1 Year Of Operations: A Look At The Boeing 737 MAX’s Return

How time flies! It has now been a year since the Boeing 737 MAX returned to the skies with Brazilian carrier GOL. In the time since, many countries worldwide have recertified the type, and a growing number of airlines have added or readded the type to their operations.

Boeing, 737 MAX, 1 Year
It’s been a year since the Boeing 737 MAX returned to the skies. Photo: Getty Images

Around 30 airlines are now flying the Boeing 737 MAX, with operations of the type spreading across the world’s inhabited continents. According to data from Cirium, over 44,000 flights with the MAX are planned for December 2021, with the number likely being higher to account for some airlines who don’t differentiate the aircraft in scheduling.

One year since all eyes were on GOL

A year ago, all eyes were on the Brazilian airline, GOL. One of its Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, PR-XMB, became the first MAX to carry paying passengers since the type was grounded worldwide in March 2019.

Boeing, 737 MAX, 1 Year
A year go, GOL became the first to bring the jet back on domestic flights in Brazil. Photo: RadarBox.com

Flight G3 4104 departed from Sao Paulo’s Guarulhos Airport at 08:24, just four minutes behind schedule. The flight lasted one hour and 38 minutes, touching down at the Proto Alegre Airport at 10:02, just two minutes later than planned. The flight reached a maximum altitude of 38,000 feet and was completed without incident or significant fanfare.

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

Just the start of the return

As we can see today, it indeed was the start of the return. According to data from RadarBox.com, to the end of November, PR-XMB had completed 3,546.6 flight hours across 1,571 flights. In this time, the aircraft covered 1.3 million nautical miles, roughly equivalent to flying around the Earth’s circumference 60.5 times.

PR-XMB, although representative of the start of the return, is really just a drop in the ocean. At the end of October, Boeing revealed that the type had completed over half a million flight hours, equating to 57 years of flight, since it returned to the skies. This came from more than 206,000 revenue flights.

Boeing, 737 MAX, 1 Year
Over the past year, the Boeing 737 MAX has racked up over half a million flight hours. Photo: Getty Images

While the aircraft has received quite a bit of negative commentary online, it seems as though passengers aren’t actually so worried about stepping on the world’s most scrutinized aircraft type. Both Ryanair and flydubai have commented that they have seen no resistance to flying on the type from passengers.

Speaking about the MAX ahead of last month’s Dubai Airshow, Ihssane Mounir, Boeing’s VP of Commercial Sales and Marketing, remarked,

“Speaking of the 737 MAX, it has been back in service now for several months. We’re in excess of 200,000 flights, and the airplane has been flown by over 30 customers to date. That’s over half a million hours and schedule reliability is above 99%. When we look at it from a regulatory standpoint, about 175 jurisdictions have reauthorized the aircraft to fly.”

At the time, Mounir flagged two significant nations that had yet to recertify the type. China and Russia. Last week Simple Flying revealed that China was now paving the way for the Boeing 737 MAX’s return, leaving Russia as the main major nation yet to recertify the type.

Have you flown on the Boeing 737 MAX since its service return? Let us know how you found it in the comments!