UAE says local airlines’ Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft not affected by technical defect

Among the six local carriers, only flydubai operates 737 MAX 9 aeroplanes


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Sun 7 Jan 2024, 8:25 PM

Last updated: Mon 8 Jan 2024, 8:52 AM

UAE airlines don’t operate aircraft that were affected by technical defect that occurred in the Boeing 737 MAX 9 model, the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said on Sunday.

This came after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Saturday temporarily grounded 171 Boeing 737 MAX 9 jetliners for safety checks, following a cabin panel blowout that forced a new Alaska Airlines jet carrying passengers to make an emergency landing. The plane was in service for just eight weeks.

The GCAA added that the records have been verified with the Federal Aviation Administration and it is continuously monitoring updates in this regard.

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Flydubai also confirmed to Khaleej Times earlier that its 737 MAX 9 aircraft were not affected after the US aviation regulator issued an emergency airworthiness directive.

The Dubai-headquartered carrier said that it is operating 737 MAX 9 planes which were not referred to in the FAA directive.

“Following The Emergency Airworthiness Directive (EAD) issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on January 6, 2024, we can confirm that the three Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft in our fleet are not affected. Flydubai operates Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft with a deactivated mid-aft exit door configuration which is not referenced in the directive,” a flydubai spokesperson said in a statement to this newspaper.

Among the six local carriers, only flydubai operates 737 MAX 9 aeroplanes.

Scheduled flights globally in January 2024 on the MAX 9 prior to Alaska Airlines announcement

United Airlines7,951
Alaska Airlines 5,082
Copa 2,603
Aeromexico 2,437
Turkish Airlines654
Icelandair 414
Flydubai 342
AirCompany 46
Total 19,529

Source: Cirium

Flydubai operates 29 Boeing 737-800 aircraft, including three MAX 9. Thirteen Boeing 737 MAX aircraft joined its fleet last year.

The Dubai-based carrier placed its first wide-body order for 30 Boeing 787-9s at the Dubai Airshow, diversifying its current fleet of all-Boeing 737 aircraft.

The Dubai carrier earlier said that it had completed C-checks on the aircraft in the last 24 months.

In aviation, C-checks are part of the “heavy maintenance” of the aircraft which usually happens between 18 months to 2 years. This inspection is usually carried out at a special facility, spanning up to 2 weeks.

On December 28, the US planemaker Boeing asked airlines to inspect MAX 737 aeroplanes for a possible loose bolt in the rudder control system after an international operator discovered a bolt with a missing nut while performing routine maintenance on a mechanism in the rudder-control linkage. Boeing discovered an additional undelivered aircraft with a nut not properly tightened.

India's aviation regulator also ordered an inspection of all Boeing 737-8 Max aircraft owned by domestic operators after a cabin panel blowout.


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