Cayman Airways To Ferry A Boeing 737 MAX To The US

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The 737 MAX remains officially grounded from commercial service. However, the aircraft still take to the skies every now and then for what are known as ferry flights. This is the case for Cayman Airways and its 737 MAX 8. The aircraft will take-off this weekend on a necessary maintenance flight.

Cayman Airways has a total of two 737 MAX aircraft. Photo: Nathan Coats via Wikimedia Commons

Details and official statements regarding this flight were posted to Cayman Airways’ official website.  This is what the airline’s leadership had to say:

“For almost a year, the grounded MAX aircraft have been maintained under an active storage maintenance program as specified by the manufacturer…Routine maintenance flights become necessary over time as part of this maintenance program and are being conducted in coordination with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands and Boeing.” -Fabian Whorms, President and CEO, Cayman Airways

Taking place this weekend

With the flight likely to happen this weekend, the airline says that maintenance flight will have an observer on board from the Civil Aviation Authority. In addition to the observer, there will be a representative from Boeing.

The airline says that the exact day and time of the flight for the aircraft – registration VP-CIW – will depend on clearance times provided by Air Traffic Control. The main goal is to work around airport congestion. The airline says the flight is likely to take place late Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning.

Cayman Airways 737 MAX
VP-CIW, shown here, will go on this first maintenance flight. Photo: Cayman Airways

The airline has one other 737 MAX in its fleet (VP-CIX). While it also will require a maintenance flight before re-entry into service, the date for this flight is yet to be determined. However, the airline indicates that it will occur by early March.

Much newer than VP-CIW, the aircraft VP-CIX has not conducted any commercial flights since its March 2019 delivery. Therefore, it does not require the same level of maintenance as the other aircraft. Therefore, it will remain in the airline’s current active storage maintenance program on Grand Cayman.

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Other 737 MAX flights

While the 737 MAX is officially grounded from commercial service, the plane type has been flying occasionally in the last year. Here are some instances where the banned aircraft took to the skies:

Icelandair Boeing 737 MAX
Icelandair’s MAX jets went to Spain for the winter. Photo: Boeing

Conclusion

It looks like Cayman Airways is being proactive in getting its aircraft ready to fly passengers before the U.S. FAA has officially given the MAX the green light to fly commercially again. This could be wise as airlines all around the world will be scrambling to do the same, using the mid-2020 estimate as guidance.

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However, the timeline has been moved continuously since last summer and there is always the risk of more delays as we get closer to June.

Do you think this Cayman Airways is expressing the right level of cautious optimism in preparing its aircraft for commercial operations in advance of official re-certification? Or is it being too optimistic as the timelines have shifted continually since last summer? Let us know in the comments.

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