Flights Suggest Singapore Airlines Is Closer To Returning The 737 MAX

Recent flight data suggests that Singapore Airlines is edging closer to resuming Boeing 737 MAX flights. Yesterday, one of the airline’s Silk Air MAXs undertook a test flight out of Singapore, characteristic of those other airlines have been undertaking.

Singapore Airlines, Boeing 737 MAX, Return to Service
Is Singapore Airlines edging closer to returning the Boeing 737 MAX to service? Photo: Getty Images

Around the world, the Boeing 737 MAX’s return is gathering pace. At least 15 airlines have now resumed flights with the type with more set to follow. However, it’s not just operators responsible for returning the aircraft to the skies. Aviation authorities also need to give the green light to MAX flights in their skies. So far, over 160 of 195 global regulators have done so.

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A 737 MAX test flight

At the end of 2020, Singapore Airlines flew one of its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, registered 9V-MBA, out of storage at Alice Springs and back to its Singapore home, where it has sat since. However, yesterday the aircraft took to the skies once more.

According to data from RadarBox.com, 9V-MBA departed from Singapore (SIN) at 11:12. The aircraft turned east and flew over the ocean, climbing to a height of 41,000 feet as MI8880. Having reached this altitude, the aircraft turned back towards Singapore and begun descending. At around 12:20, the aircraft completed a touch and go at its home airport before looping back around to finally land at 12:34.

Singapore Airlines, Boeing 737 MAX, Return to Service
Yesterday, the aircraft completed a test flight up to 41,000 feet. Photo: RadarBox.com

The flight contained many of the characteristics similar to other airlines’ MAX return to service flights. For example, when TUI completed its first MAX return to service flight, the aircraft followed a similar flight pattern, albeit with the touch and go at the start of the flight.

Maybe not a recertification flight?

However, according to FlightGlobal, it may not be time to get excited about the type’s return to service just yet. According to the publication, the flight was instead to test a communications antenna that had been installed on the aircraft.

So far, only two of the airline’s MAX aircraft have returned to Singapore from Alice Springs. As previously mentioned, 9V-MBA was the first to return to Singapore. However, on February 26th, the plane was followed by 9V-MBF. According to the publication, further Boeing 737 MAX aircraft stored in Alice Springs are set to relocate to Singapore progressively.

Cathay-Pacific-Aircraft-Storage-Getty
Singapore Airlines Airbus A380s are also in storage at Alice Springs. Photo: Getty Images

On the aircraft’s return to service, a Singapore Airlines spokesperson told Simple Flying,

“Singapore Airlines conducted a test flight for a Boeing 737-8 Max aircraft in Singapore. This was a post-modification test flight, conducted after the installation of a communications antenna related to the aircraft’s cabin retrofit programme.

“Two Boeing 737-8 Max aircraft have been flown back to Singapore. The rest will be flown back progressively. We will continue to work with and be guided by our regulators on Boeing 737-8 MAX operations. The safety of our customers and staff is our top priority.”

What do you make of the MAX’s test flight in Singapore? Will we see the aircraft return to service soon? Let us know what you think and why in the comments.

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