Nordic carrier Icelandair plans to resume flights using its six Boeing 737 MAX in late March or early April. In a statement today, Icelandair says that it has had many inquiries about its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Currently, Icelandair’s Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are being stored at Lleida–Alguaire Airport (ILD), which is located in northern Spain 150 kilometers (93 miles) west of the Catalonian capital Barcelona.
After having undergone an extensive 20-month process that involved aviation experts from around the world, the Boeing 737 MAX has now been recertified and is cleared to return to the skies. Having been the most thorough inspection process in the history of aviation, the following authorities have declared the plane as being safe:
- The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the USA
- Transport Canada (TC) in Canada
- The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in Europe, of which Iceland is a member
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Changes have been made to the MCAS
During the recertification process, Boeing made various improvements to the flight control system while conducting more than 1,350 test flights. Before airlines return the MAX to service, all pilots must undertake additional training.
Now, rather than a single angle-of-attack sensor, there are two; the aircraft will now only respond if the data from both sensors agree. Along with this improvement, pilots have the ability to override the aircraft’s sensor input at any time. In the video below, you can learn more about the aircraft’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) and the updates that have been made to it.
Icelandair is preparing for the MAX return
Now that the plane has been recertified, Icelandair says that preparations for its service return are underway. Icelandair will take the following steps before the MAX can rejoin its fleet.
When the aircraft was first grounded, Icelandair sent its MAX aircraft to Spain to be stored in better climatic conditions. The planes will now return to Iceland, where Icelandair mechanics will carry out extensive maintenance checks.
All Icelandair pilots will undergo extensive training on a Boeing 737 MAX Flight Simulator and gain an enhanced understanding of the 737 flight control system, including MCAS and related software changes.
All Boeing 737 MAX aircraft will undergo a series of tests that will include several flights without passengers.
Icelandair CEO is bullish about Q2
Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic and a massive downturn in the number of people flying, Icelandair thinks this may begin to change in the second quarter as the MAX returns to service. When speaking about the coronavirus and what happened to the aviation industry in 2020, Icelandair CEO Bogi Nils Bogason is quoted by Icelandic outlet Kjarninn as saying the following:
“The development of the epidemic, the distribution of vaccines, and the development of border rules will be crucial for the future. However, we are moderately optimistic that we will be able to increase flights from the second quarter of this year.”
The 51-year-old airline executive thinks that passenger traffic to Iceland will pick up in the spring, adding:
“Iceland will continue to be a sought-after tourist destination and, due to changes in the competitive environment, we will also see increased opportunities for connecting flights between Europe and North America through Iceland.”
Regarding the Boeing 737 MAX and how people feel about flying on the aircraft, Icelandair says that it will be fully transparent with passengers during the booking process regarding what type of aircraft they will be flying on.
If you find that your flight will be operated using a Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and do not yet feel comfortable flying on it, you can change your booking for free or cancel and receive a travel voucher.
Are you ready to fly on a Boeing 737 MAX? Please tell us what you think about the MAX returning to service.