By Bernd Debusmann Jr
US giant Boeing is helping Flydubai maintain its fleet of grounded 737 Max aircraft ahead of eventual return to the skies
US aviation giant Boeing is working with Dubai-based carrier Flydubai to ensure that its grounded fleet of 737 Max aircraft is “preserved well” ahead of its return to the skies, according to Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
Following the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines aircraft in March, Flydubai grounded its current fleet of 14 Max aircraft, severely impacting its operations and profit and reducing its fleet to 2014 levels. The carrier reported a half-year loss of $53.6 million – a 38 percent reduction compared to H1 2018.
Speaking to reporters in Dubai ahead of the Dubai Airshow, Deal said that Boeing has had “ongoing discussions” with Flydubai about “ensuring that we do our part to mitigate the impact [of the groundings] and then ensuring that we are working together as time approaches to return those aircraft to service.”
“We’ve been working actively with Flydubai to ensure that the airlines are preserved well, maintaining updates with our engine partner CFM and provisioning parts so that as the airplanes come back, they are ready to fly.”
While Boeing had set a fourth quarter target for the Max’s return to the skies, Saif Al Suwaidi, the director general of the General Civil Aviation Authority, has said he believes that Q1 2020 is more likely.
Earlier this year, Flydubai chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said that the airline had a “right” to ask for compensation from Boeing over the Max groundings
In his remarks on Saturday, Deal did not give details into the possible compensation that Flydubai would receive.
“We’re in discussions with airlines around the globe, including Flydubai. The range of the discussion varies airline by airline,” he said. “But part of the integrity we promote is working with airlines to resolve that impact, and we’re very serious as a company about doing it.”
Additionally, Deal said that Boeing “continues to make progress” as it works to get the Max flying again.
“We’re going to shortly be doing live pilot evaluations, moving into full certification,” he said.
Boeing has a backlog of 5,500 commercial aircraft orders around the world. Over the next 20 years, the company believes that 44,000 new aircraft will be needed, creating $16 trillion worth of potential business opportunities.
“We continue to see robust growth for the commercial markets,” Deal said. “The fundamentals remain in place in terms of long-term demand.”For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.