Singapore Lifts Ban On The Boeing 737 MAX

Singapore has lifted the nearly 30-month long ban on the Boeing 737 MAX. Boeing’s latest narrowbody will now be able to return to service as soon as all aircraft changes and crew training is complete. Singapore is the second country to approve MAX operations in Southeast Asia in the last week and marks an important milestone for Boeing.

Singapore Airlines, Boeing 737 MAX, Return to Service
Singapore Airlines will operate the Boeing 737 MAX following the integration with subsidiary SilkAir. Photo: Getty Images

Back in action

According to Reuters , the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) has said that it will recertify the Boeing 737 MAX. The return to service decision ends a two-and-a-half-year ban on the beleaguered narrowbody, which saw SilkAir forced to send its 737 MAX’s to the desert for storage.

The 737 MAX’s operations resumption is contingent on Singapore Airlines (the sole operator in the country) meeting all requirements of all airworthiness directives. The return to service also requires additional crew training for 737 pilots, meaning that it could be at least a few weeks or months before the MAX returns to the skies.

SilkAir 737 MAX
Singapore is the first country in the region actually flying the MAX to recertify the aircraft. Photo: dreamcatcher-68 via Flickr

Singapore’s approval of the MAX comes just days after neighbor Malaysia made the same decision. The pair have become one of the first countries to recertify the aircraft in Southeast Asia, a critical market for Boeing. Singapore is the first country with a MAX fleet to reapprove the jet in the region.

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Good news

Today’s announcement will be good news for Singapore Airlines. The flag carrier added six 737 MAX to its fleet following the integration of regional arm SilkAir. The MAX will join the 737-800 in regional operations for the airline, which started in March 2021.

Singapore Airlines has also opted to keep its remaining order for the 737 MAX too. The airline will take delivery of eight new 737 MAX 8s in this financial year, which means deliveries could be resuming in the near future. Here’s a sneak peek at the new livery.

In a statement to Simple Flying, a Singapore Airlines spokesperson said,

“Singapore Airlines (SIA) welcomes the decision by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) to lift the restrictions on Boeing 737 MAX operations…SIA proactively completed technical modifications and software upgrades to its aircraft, and conducted operational readiness flights in Alice. Springs, in accordance to the relevant US FAA airworthiness directive of November 2020. Further details on SIA’s 737-8 operations will be announced at a later date.”

Back

The return of the 737 MAX has long been expected. Singapore Airlines began flying the aircraft back from Alice Springs, Australia, in late 2020 to plan recertification flights. While it has taken longer than expected, the decision is a shot in the arm for Boeing. While the 737 MAX has found recognition globally, Asia-Pacific operators remain a relative holdout. Currently, 175 countries have recertified the MAX.

However, the tide is turning quickly. India recertified the 737 MAX in August, and China has flown recertification flights in recent weeks. If all goes well, the 737 MAX could be flying around the world by early 2022, helping restore confidence.

What do you think about the return to service of the 737 MAX? Let us know in the comments!

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