Brazillian Airline GOL is currently operating the first Boeing 737 MAX flight with paying passengers since the aircraft type was grounded in March 2019. One of its Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, registered as PR-XMB, departed from Sao Paulo at 08:41 local time. It is expected to land in Porto Alegre at around 10:00.
In November, the FAA ungrounded Boeing’s 737 MAX, paving the way for US carriers to look towards resuming passenger operations. So far, Brazil has been the only other country to have followed the FAA in reversing the ban. However, others are due to follow.
The flight details
Despite the United States being the first to unground the 737 MAX, Brazil’s GOL became the first airline to return the type to service. Flight G3 4104 is scheduled from Sao Paulo’s Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) to Porto Alegre in the country’s south.
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The flight was due to depart from Sao Paulo at 08:20. After a short 21 minute delay, the aircraft took off into the sky at 08:41. Despite the delayed departure, FlightRadar24.com data suggests that the aircraft will land on time at 10:00.
A look at the aircraft
The first passenger 737 MAX flight comes just a day after Boeing delivered its first 737 MAX aircraft since the type’s ungrounding. GOL used PR-XMB for today’s flight. According to data from Planespotters.net, the aircraft was delivered to GOL in August 2018, making it 2.3 years old.
The last passenger flight made by the aircraft was on March 11th, from Santiago to Sao Paulo. The aircraft was then ferried to Belo Horizonte on March 12th. The aircraft remained grounded until November 23rd, when it began a series of flights to nowhere from the airport with the flight number BOE 1234 and then G3 1234.
On December 4th, the aircraft positioned to Sao Paulo’s Congonhas Airport. Early this morning at 06:25, the aircraft hoped across Sao Paulo to its Guarulhos International Airport.
When will other airlines resume MAX flights?
Alongside GOL, only a handful of other carriers are so far able to resume flights with the 737 MAX, as many countries have yet to unground the type. Next to relaunch services using the type is American Airlines, which will fly the aircraft from Miami to La Guardia and back from December 29th.
United Airlines has said that they will resume 737 MAX flights in early 2021. However, Southwest, the type’s current largest operator, isn’t rushing to resume flights. The US low-cost carrier will train all of its 737 pilots on the type before it returns ‘no sooner than the second quarter of 2021.’
As such, we could potentially see Ryanair operating the type first, as they are keen to take delivery of and fly the 737 MAX 200 in early 2021.
Are you glad to see the 737 MAX carrying passengers once again? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!