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Thu 10 Sep 2020 06:28 PM

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Aviation regulator says keen to see Boeing 737 return to UAE skies

Aircraft has been banned from flying globally since a 737 Max run by Ethiopian Airlines crashed, killing all 157 people on board in March 2019

Aviation regulator says keen to see Boeing 737 return to UAE skies

State-owned discount carrier Flydubai is the Max’s second-biggest customer.

The head of the UAE's aviation regulator on Thursday said he was committed to bringing back the troubled Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to the country's airspace.

The aircraft has been banned from flying globally since a 737 Max run by Ethiopian Airlines plunged to the ground on its way to Kenya, killing all 157 people on board in March 2019.

Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, director-general of the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said that the authority is "committed to ensure a safe return to service for Boeing B737 MAX in the UAE as it continues working extensively with the Federal Aviation Administration, Boeing and UAE operators on resolving issues regarding B737 MAX."

He added in comments published by state news agency WAM that service resumption of the aircraft would depend on the speed in which "corrective measures" are applied following the recent test flight that was conducted by Boeing.

Such measures include updating the aircraft's software of the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, updating pilot training procedures, and performing operational readiness flights for each aircraft, he said.

"In the same context, a dedicated specialist team has been formed by the GCAA to monitor the current certification activities and implementation of the corrective measures. The specialist team is also working with the European Aviation Safety Agency to benefit from their approach in safely returning the aircraft to service which is expected to happen in last quarter of this year," he added.

State-owned discount carrier Flydubai is the Max’s second-biggest customer. The airline said in March that it returned to profit in 2019 but the outlook remained uncertain due to the continued grounding of its Boeing 737 aircraft.

Eleven Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 3 Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft remain grounded, with 19 percent of its flying schedule cancelled as a result of the grounding.

Last month, US aviation regulators proposed a long list of fixes to Boeing’s grounded 737 Max in one of the most extensive set of requirements the agency has issued following an accident.

The Federal Aviation Administration proposal shows that, after 16 months of the plane’s grounding and a series of investigative reports and congressional hearings, aviation regulators are satisfied that the fixes will allow the plane to safely resume service.

While the European Aviation Safety Agency hasn’t yet been able to conduct its own test flights of the Max, Boeing has “demonstrated compliance” under the European standards, the FAA said in its summary of the review.

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