It’s no surprise to hear about the return of the Boeing 737 MAX, as various civil aviation authorities work towards its ungrounding globally. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil have already signed off on the now updated controversial aircraft, while other operators wait desperately to get their parked birds back into the air.
Other agencies such as Transport Canada and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency have stated that their approval will allow respective airlines under their jurisdictions to to get their MAXs airborne by the first quarter of 2021. However, the Civil Aviation Administration of China has provided no estimates as to when they will give approval, saying that they will rubber stamp the aircraft once their three requested requirements are met.
After the world expected American Airlines to debut the MAX after its almost two-year grounding, GOL Linhas Aéreas jumped the queue, taking one of their MAX 8s to the skies on December 9 between São Paulo (GRU) and Porto Alegre (POA) in Brazil. Even though the flight performed service in a commercial capacity, regular flights are not set to resume until December 18.
For the moment, GOL’s MAXs can only perform flights within Brazil, and will quickly be phased into multiple domestic routes as they get their current fleet of 7 ready in the next few weeks to months. At the moment, GOL is the only carrier flying the MAX, even though others are right on its heels.
Aeromexico has joined the party, resuming commercial MAX service from December 18, 2020. Initially carded for December 21, the airline started kicked off service with flights from Mexico City to Cancun, and will cover more domestic routes including Tijuana, Monterrey, and Guadalajara.
As it stands, Aeromexico has already taken delivery of 6 MAX 8s, with 54 outstanding split between the -8 and -9 variants. Tentatively, the they are looking at taking on 44 more -8s and 10 -9s, but they may mix and match as time goes by.
American Airlines has confirmed that their first commercial MAX flight will re-enter the roster from December 29, 2020, with one daily round trip flight between Miami (MIA) and LaGuardia (LGA). As more of their MAXs are brought online, they will be filtered back into the system, operating to many Caribbean and East Coast destinations out of Miami. Some cities include New York, Tampa, Orlando, Puerto Rico, and St. Croix.
As it stands, American has taken delivery of 26 MAX 8s, with 74 still to be collected. If all goes to plan, they should take on 6 more in December, then 18 in 2021, and 10 in 2022, with the balance being spread out until 2025.
While no official schedule has been published yet, United Airlines announced 737 MAX re-introduction on February 11.
Nothing is more important to United than the safety of our customers and employees, so United’s MAX fleet won’t return to service until we have completed more than 1,000 hours of work on every aircraft, including FAA-mandated changes to the flight software, additional pilot training, multiple test flights and meticulous technical analysis to ensure the planes are ready to fly. We will be fully transparent with our customers and will communicate in advance when they are booked to fly on a MAX aircraft.
Alaska Airlines has a tentative Q1 date, and we will update this list as the time gets closer. Southwest Airlines has not given a time frame for the resumption of their MAX-based flights.
[Featured Photo: Bradley Wint/Gate Checked]