UAE regulators likely to follow FAA’s lead on 737 Max approval

Published: 1 July 2020 - 5 a.m.

The UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) is expected to approve Boeing’s 737 Max for service soon after its US counterpart lifts its flight ban on the grounded aircraft.

That is according to a UAE state official, who told Bloomberg that the GCAA will conduct its own flight tests while working alongside the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on the certification process.

Boeing’s best-selling 737 Max has been grounded worldwide for 15 months following two fatal crashes.

On Tuesday, Boeing and the FAA resumed flight tests, partly to assess the updated MCAS system, which was ruled to be a factor in both Max crashes.

Boeing’s Max could receive certification from the FAA around mid-September, according to analysts.

If global regulators coordinate their efforts, it could smoothen and accelerate the jet’s return. Analysts expect European regulators to certify the aircraft “a week or two” after the FAA’s approval.

UAE carrier flydubai is the second largest 737 Max customer in the world and suffered a huge reduction in capacity when the plane was grounded.

While flydubai is in no immediate rush to ramp up its capacity due to the ongoing pandemic, the airline plans to build up its network gradually over the summer.

flydubai’s CEO, Ghaith Al Ghaith, said earlier this year before the pandemic struck that the carrier’s growth strategy “has been significantly impacted by the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max.

The budget airline received compensation from Boeing but Al Ghaith said the deal could “in no way compensate for the loss of business opportunity or market share experienced by the airline”.

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