After almost two years, Smartwings has returned the Boeing 737 MAX to regular service. Before today’s flight to Malaga, the carrier modified the aircraft as required and successfully performed a verification flight with it on Wednesday. By the summer, the airline wants to deploy the remaining six of these aircraft gradually.
“No machine has undergone such safety checks in the history of aviation as the Boeing 737 MAX. We believe that confidence in this aircraft will be restored very quickly, “said Smartwings CEO Roman Vik.
Smartwings began work on resuming aircraft operations after allowing them to operate in Europe. Recommissioning includes but is not limited to pilot training, software and hardware upgrades, and other activities required by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Before putting it into regular operation, the carrier shall conduct a verification flight with each airplane.
Smartwings plans to deploy Boeing 737 MAX aircraft on routes from Prague, Tel Aviv, Warsaw, or Bratislava to the Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Madeira, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Morocco, and Portugal.
The return of modern aircraft can help airlines facing existential difficulties. “These are more economical machines than the current Boeing 737-800 and -700. Therefore, their return in terms of flight costs at a time when each crown is calculated will undoubtedly be a benefit, “said Deloitte analyst Jakub Habarta recently for the E15 daily. Fuel savings are 14 percent compared to older aircraft, according to Smartwings.
On the other hand, airlines had to invest once in the commissioning of aircraft and additional pilot training, as required by EASA. Leasing will also be more expensive for new aircraft, adds the analyst.
Smartwings had to replace decommissioned aircraft with other aircraft throughout the nearly two-year outage, such as leased aircraft. At the end of last year, the company estimated losses due to decommissioning at more than 1.5 billion crowns. The airlines are seeking compensation from the American manufacturer.
Smartwings and CSA’s sister companies are currently under a protective moratorium against creditors. It expires at the end of February. The air group is asking the state for help because of this. It wants non-repayable support of 1.1 billion crowns for CSA. The group is also asking the state for half a billion in compensation for canceled flights last spring.
The Boeing 737 MAX has been shut down worldwide since March 2019 due to two accidents that killed 346 people. At the end of January this year, their operation was approved by EASA. At the end of last year, the machines received the green light from the American FAA. On the contrary, Boeing is still awaiting permission from the Chinese authorities.