On November 25, 2020, the National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil (ANAC) lifted the ban on the Boeing 737 MAX within Brazilian airspace. Globally, American Airlines was set to be the first airline to resume flights, aiming to resume service with its first flight from Miami to LaGuardia on December 29.
GOL Linhas Aéreas has since jumped the queue, announcing the resumption of MAX service from December 9, 2020. The first few routes will be operated out of their hub in São Paulo (GRU) with plans to get all 7 MAX 8s online by the end of the year.
“Our first priority is always the Safety of our Customers,” says Celso Ferrer, VP of Operations at GOL and a commercial pilot who regularly flies Boeing planes and is already trained to fly the 737 MAX. “Over the past 20 months, we have watched the most comprehensive safety review in the history of commercial aviation unfold, bringing together regulatory agencies and airlines from around the world to monitor and contribute to the upgrades in aircraft systems and pilot training. Consequently, following the new certification of the Boeing 737 MAX by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration, United States) and ANAC (National Agency Civil Aviation Administration, Brazil), we are fully confident in the MAX’s return to service,” Added Celso.
It seems GOL has been working hard behind the scenes to get the MAX online as soon as possible as 140 of its pilots completed an updated training program with Boeing in order to meet the guidelines set by both ANAC and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Their MAXs re-entering service have also gone through a series of technical flights to meet the new airworthiness directives set by the various civil aviation authorities.
GOL’s CEO Paulo Kakinoff stated:
“We are pleased about the return of the Boeing 737 MAX to our network. The MAX is one of the most efficient aircraft in aviation history and the only one to undergo a complete recertification process, ensuring the highest levels of safety and reliability. We are grateful to the authorities who took part in the validation stages, especially ANAC, which played a leading role in the certification, alongside other international regulators, thanks to its renowned competence and technical skills. We reiterate our trust in Boeing, our exclusive partner since GOL’s inception in 2001.”
As it stands, GOL has already taken delivery of 7 Boeing MAX-8s, with plans to acquire a further 93 in the future. This comes as more positive for the troubled aircraft type as Ryanair recently put in an order for an additional 75 “737 8200s”, a higher capacity variant of the MAX 8. This model is expected to carry up to 200 passengers, but interestingly the airline has chosen to drop the “MAX” from the title.
[Featured Photo: Alexandro Dias/Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0) ]