Breaking a 20-month hiatus, Boeing handed over its maiden MAX since the type’s grounding
Chicago-based United Airlines has become the first carrier in the world to accept delivery of a Boeing 737 MAX since the type was grounded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in March 2019.
Yesterday (December 8), a MAX 9 registered N27519 (c/n 43459), departed Boeing Field on what is thought to have been a delivery acceptance flight. After 1hr 21mins in the air, the jet landed at Seattle/Tacoma International.
The embattled aircraft was un-grounded by the FAA on November 18 following the conclusion of a lengthy recertification programme which saw every aspect of the jet being scrutinised by the regulator. The worldwide grounding – which lasted more than 20 months – followed two fatal crashes involving the type in the preceding four months.
The manufacturer continued to produce the jets at a rapid rate long into the grounding period and now has a delivery backlog of more than 450 airframes. Boeing says it expects to hand over around half its build-up next year and the remainder in 2022.
The delivery to United Airlines marks an important milestone for the return of the 737 MAX. However, the carrier says it doesn’t plan to use the jet this year but will return it to revenue service during Q1 2021.
American Airlines expects to be the first US-based carrier to begin commercial service with the jet. The Dallas-based operator has rostered the type for a daily service between Miami and New York starting on December 29.
Meanwhile, Brazilian airline Gol is set to become the first carrier in the world to resume using the MAX when it begins services with the type later today (December 9). The low-cost operator is expected to start flying the type exclusively on domestic routes to and from its Sao Paulo hub.