Fiji Airways has revealed that it is planning to return the Boeing 737 MAX to the skies. The news comes as the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji (CAAF) confirmed the return to service requirements of MAX aircraft within its jurisdiction.
The Boeing 737 MAX return to service is continuing to gather pace. To date, at least 18 operators have returned the plane to the skies, with Heathrow recently seeing its first post-recertification MAX flight. So far, over 14,000 revenue flights have operated, equating to over 31,000 flight hours.
The program was dealt another win yesterday with the Federal Aviation Administration giving the green light to the latest sub-type of the MAX, the 8200. Now, things are also looking up for the 737 MAX in Fiji.
Fiji Airways prepares for the MAX
Fiji Airways is now stepping up preparations to return the Boeing 737 MAX to service after more than two years. Today the CAAF confirmed that it would permit Fijian carriers to resume flights with the MAX.
Fiji Airways was previously flying the type to Australia and New Zealand. Both territories have already recertified the MAX. However, Fiji Airways is currently operating a limited flight schedule due to the pandemic. As such, the plane will likely initially be seen on cargo and repatriation flights. The airline didn’t give an exact date for its first MAX flight.
The MAX simulator in Fiji is already being used to train pilots and technical crew, so they are ready for the first MAX flights. Ahead of the type’s relaunch, the airline will issue information about the MAX to customers.
Commenting on the news, Mr. Andre Viljoen, Fiji Airways Managing Director, and CEO said,
“Everyone at Fiji Airways, including our pilots and technical crew have complete confidence in the safety of the MAX, given the intense scrutiny, thousands of test flights and necessary upgrades made to the aircraft over numerous months. Safety and care for our customers and staff remain our highest and unrelenting priority.”
The Fiji Airways MAX fleet
As things stand, Fiji Airways only currently has two 737 MAX aircraft, according to data from Planespotters.net. Both are presently parked in Alice Spring alongside a host of other aircraft, such as some of the Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 fleet.
According to Boeing’s order books, a total of five 737 MAX aircraft are bound for Fiji Airways, leaving three orders outstanding. Alongside the MAX aircraft, the airline also has two 737-800 planes, two Airbus A350-900s, and six Airbus A330s. Previously the airline also operated a sole Boeing 747.
Before the type’s grounding, Simple Flying’s Jay Singh experienced business class onboard the 737 MAX. You can read about the experience in our trip review here.
Are you pleased to see more carriers resuming Boeing 737 MAX flights? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!