In 2017, SpiceJet ordered 205 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. The 737 family makes up the backbone of SpiceJet’s fleet and the 737 MAX 8 was a natural successor to replace SpiceJet’s 737 NGs.
SpiceJet’s 737 MAX order
The order for 205 MAX aircraft was no surprise. As a low-cost carrier, SpiceJet already had familiarity with the 737 NG line of aircraft. The successor, 737 MAX, would allow for optimal familiarity and keep SpiceJet’s expansion costs low.
SpiceJet first ordered the 737NGs in 2005. Recently, they’ve expanded their 737 fleet by taking over more aircraft from collapsed Jet Airways. These additional 737s offer cover for the grounding of the 737 MAX.
737 MAX grounding
The global grounding of the 737 MAX came in March after an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX crashed under similar circumstances to that of a Lion Air 737 MAX. For two new aircraft to crash within months of each other is incredibly rare.
As a result, passengers and regulatory agencies started demanding some kind of investigation regarding the safety of the 737 MAX. China was the first to ground the aircraft, and slowly but surely, just about every other airline and regulatory agency grounded 737 MAX aircraft until it was just the United States and Canada. Finally, Boeing and the FAA succumbed to public pressure and grounded the 737 MAX too.
Since then, Boeing has been working on a fix for the aircraft. As of now, they’ve submitted a solution that was presented to multiple different aviation safety experts.
However, there remains the question about public confidence in the aircraft. Some airlines believe that the public will once again willingly fly on Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Others believe that confidence has been eroded and seek to retool their orders for MAX aircraft. Needless to say, the 737 MAX grounding is a huge inconvenience for all airlines who fly the aircraft.
Boeing says the plane will fly by July
NDTV reports that Boeing told SpiceJet the 737 MAX should be flying again by July of 2019. As many airlines have canceled flights through September of this year, this will be a welcome relief should the claim come true.
After all, Boeing has as much of an interest in getting 737 MAX aircraft back in the air as the carriers do. Airlines are knocking on Boeing’s door asking for compensation in the wake of these groundings, and every day the jet spends on the ground will only add to the amounts they believe they are owed.
SpiceJet also has another motive to get these aircraft back in service sooner rather than later. The demise of Jet Airways has left a void in the market that could quickly be filled by Air India, IndiGo, and Vistara– SpiceJet’s competitors. The catch? Neither of those airlines operate the 737 MAX. In fact, there is such a big demand on certain routes that Air India is deploying 747s on domestic routes! SpiceJet eagerly wants in on this and they can’t with grounded aircraft.
Should this timeline come true, it would represent a quicker return to service than anticipated. Regulators are going to be in the spotlight for certifying the 737 MAX again. In all likelihood, they will take a long, hard look at the 737 MAX before allowing it to return to the skies.
Boeing is perhaps providing this timeline as a way to keep airlines as customers of 737 MAX aircraft and, hopefully, get airlines off their backs with compensation. Time will tell if Boeing’s prediction comes true.
Do you think the 737 MAX will fly again by July? Let us know in the comments!