Royal Air Maroc is looking at returning its Boeing 737 MAX 8 fleet to the skies as early as next month. The Moroccan airline, which has two MAX 8s in its fleet, is likely to deploy the jets between Casablanca (CMN) and Accra, Bologna, Lagos, London Heathrow, and Paris.
MAX 8 fleet to return in July
After grounding its 737 MAX 8s in 2019 in the aftermath of two deadly MAX accidents, Royal Air Maroc is set to return the plane to service next month. The airline is considering relaunching the MAX as early as July.
Royal Air Maroc took delivery of its two MAX 8s after the first MAX accident (Lion Air Flight 610 on October 29th, 2018), so its planes saw minimal usage before they were grounded after the second accident on March 10th, 2019.
The airline’s two MAX 8s (CN-MAX and CN-MAY) have both been in storage for over two years. It received the first (CN-MAX) in December 2018 and the second (CN-MAY) on March 1st, 2019, just nine days before Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. According to ch-aviation, the latter jet clocked in just 17 flight hours before it was grounded.
Although Royal Air Maroc hasn’t confirmed which routes the MAX 8 will operate on, Accra, Bologna, Lagos, London Heathrow, and Paris were earmarked before the carrier was forced to ground the plane.
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Royal Air Maroc retrains pilots
Boeing made a swathe of technical changes to the MAX in light of the two accidents, both involving the plane’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) system. Royal Air Maroc has confirmed that its pilots have been fully retrained on the technical changes made to the MAX during its recertification.
With the U.S Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recertifying the MAX in November 2020 and other agencies worldwide following suit, many airlines have already reintroduced their MAX fleets to the skies. However, others, including SpiceJet, are still having problems getting the MAX recertified in their respective countries.
The plane was affected by another problem in April this year, this time involving electrical issues with a power control unit. Over 100 MAX jets were grounded as a result, which took Boeing over a month to solve before the FAA approved their fixes.
Additional flights to Europe this summer
With summer now upon us, Royal Air Maroc will operate additional flights to Europe to cope with increasing demand. The airline plans to operate extra flights to Bologna, Milan, Brussels, Paris Roissy, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, and Lyon. However, the increased schedule will only run for a short time from July 15-21 and August 15-18.
The airline is also participating in a special program (Marhaba Operation) to facilitate the return of expatriate Moroccans. This annual program helps Moroccans residing abroad (MREs) to return home for the summer, with over 2.5 million expatriate Moroccans visiting in 2019.
This year, Royal Air Maroc reported over 120,000 flight reservations in just 24 hours after offering special discounted prices as part of the Marhaba Operation. The discounted prices were ordered personally by King Mohammed VI to help expatriate Moroccans get home affordably for the summer.
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