Returning our MAX aircraft to service
The grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX
On 12 March 2019, the UAE’s regulator, the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) issued a Safety Decision, meaning that the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft could not operate in UAE airspace. Our fleet of 11 Boeing 737 MAX 8 and three MAX 9 aircraft were immediately removed from operational service.
While on the ground
Throughout the period while the aircraft are grounded, our MAX aircraft have been under continuous maintenance as part of an aircraft storage programme. The Engineering and Maintenance team are spending 18 hours per aircraft each week maintaining the aircraft to the highest international standards meeting all regulatory requirements. We are employing a systematic approach to identify actions which could be taken over and above the minimum mandatory requirements to ensure they will be returned to service in the best possible condition.
Watch this video to hear about the work our Engineering and Maintenance team has been carrying out.
Changes to the MAX aircraft
Following an exhaustive 20-month review by aviation stakeholders, there have been a series of enhancements to the aircraft and its systems. These include enhanced protections to the automated flight control system, as well as additional software updates and a modification to wiring.
Enhanced protections to MCAS
The MAX’s automated flight control system, known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), has received multiple enhanced protections.
The review and testing process identified additional items, not directly related to MCAS, that would need to be addressed before the MAX returns to service. These include a wire separation modification, inspections for Foreign Object Debris and the installation of two additional software updates.
Prior to resuming passenger service, flydubai will meet the stringent requirements set out by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), which will include installing software enhancements, completing a wire separation modification, conducting pilot training and performing thorough aircraft reactivation activities.
When each aircraft was stored, it went through a process designed to preserve the aircraft and its engines and systems while not in use. This process will need to be reversed before each aircraft can be reactivated.
All of the changes mandated by the GCAA will be completed to the highest international standards. These will include updates to MCAS, additional software updates and a wire separation modification.
To conclude the process each aircraft will undertake an operational readiness flight before the GCAA approves each aircraft for passenger service.
As part of the review pilots, engineers and safety experts created additional Boeing 737 MAX training. This was validated by the FAA and subsequently by the GCAA.
Every one of our pilots will receive additional training before they fly the MAX. This training programme exceeds the regulatory requirement. It will be conducted in the classroom and in flydubai’s MAX aircraft full motion simulator.