Boeing’s 737 MAX has flown to Vancouver ahead of test flights which will be performed by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The flight comes after a similar set of tests were performed by both the United States’ FAA and Transport Canada.
The Boeing 737 MAX has now been grounded for almost one and a half years. Following two fatal air crashes with striking similarities, President Trump issued an order grounding the aircraft type in mid-March. Since then, Boeing has been working to modify the aircraft, in order to gain recertification for the type. After this is achieved, the hope is that airlines will begin to re-introduce the MAX.
Flying to Vancouver
Simple Flying previously reported that EASA is expected to start its recertification flight program for the Boeing 737 MAX this week. Ahead of this series of test flights, Boeing has flown the Boeing 737 MAX 7 that it is using for testing up to Vancouver.
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The aircraft, N7201S, departed from Seattle’s Boeing Field (BFI) at 08:11 according to FlightRadar24.com. The flight, which used the testing flight number BOE701 lasted for 30 minutes, landing in Vancouver (YVR) at 08:41. The aircraft climbed to a height of around 15,600 feet for just around six minutes. It reached a maximum ground speed of 357 knots just as the descent started.
Commenting on the flights, EASA previously said,
“While Boeing still has some final actions to close off, EASA judges the overall maturity of the re-design process is now sufficient to proceed to flight tests. These are a prerequisite for the European agency to approve the aircraft’s new design.”
Ryanair is waiting for the aircraft
European low-cost carrier Ryanair has been patiently waiting for the Boeing 737 MAX to return to service. The airline is an avid Boeing 737 customer and has one of the largest orders for the 737 MAX aircraft. The airline originally ordered the 737 MAX on November 24th, 2014.
Ryanair was expecting to take delivery of its first Boeing 737 MAX in April of last year. However, the type’s grounding meant that this was not possible. Once the MAX is cleared to return to service, Ryanair’s aircraft will need to tick an extra box of certification. To accommodate the additional seats placed in Ryanair’s cabins, an additional emergency exit behind the wing has been added to the airframe.
When the aircraft does return to service, Ryanair’s CEO is aware that some customers won’t wish to fly on the 737 MAX when it returns to service. The airline’s CEO previously told Simple Flying that, due to the nature of its scheduling, it would not be able to tell passengers in advanced if they were on a MAX. He added,
“We don’t want people to feel they’re trapped on a MAX. If you don’t want to go on it, fine. Off you go, take off the bag, and you can have a full refund.”
How do you feel about EASA’s 737 MAX test flights? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!