On January 27, 2021, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) gave its final approval for the return of the Boeing 737 MAX to European airspace. Then, the Directorate General Air Transport (DGTA), the Belgian civil aviation administration, also expressed a favourable opinion for Belgian airspace. This enabled the airline TUI fly to complete all the procedures for resuming operations with the four aircraft of this type in its Belgian fleet. After successful operational readiness flights, TUI fly has received the green light to restart operations. The first flight with the 737 MAX is made today from Brussels to Alicante and Malaga (Spain).
After the two tragic incidents involving Boeing 737 MAX aircraft from Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines, Boeing 737 MAX aeroplanes around the world had been grounded since March 2019. For two years, the manufacturer Boeing and the aviation authorities worked on a safe comeback for the 737 MAX. Changes to the aircraft’s software and the requirements that airlines and their pilots must meet to operate the 737 MAX have been approved by international aviation authorities. All these measures have been approved by both the American authorities (FAA) and the European authorities (EASA). The Air Transport Directorate-General of the FPS Mobility and Transport (DGTA), the Belgian civil aviation administration, had already expressed its confidence in the 737 MAX on January 27: see Boeing B737 MAX | FPS Mobility (belgium.be).
Koen Milis, Director General of the Air Transport Directorate General of the FPS Mobility and Transport: “The DGTA has full confidence in the certification work carried out by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The DGTA will closely monitor the required measures to the operator so that these aircraft can be safely operated again. It is only when we are certain that the aircraft are airworthy, that the operating procedures have been adapted and the pilots have received the training required that certificates necessary for commercial flights will be issued.”
The four TUI fly Boeing 737 MAXs stationed at Brussels Airport were inspected regularly and serviced weekly for two years, according to a strict protocol. All preparations have been made for the return of the aircraft to the flight schedule, both technically and in terms of pilot training. Operational readiness flights were carried out by certified pilots in order to test planes that had been on the ground for months. These flights were carried out without passengers, only in the presence of the pilots and an aeronautical engineer. During these approximately one-hour test flights, an approach and a go-around were notably carried out to test the automatic and manual landing.
The first flight (TB1011) with TUI fly passengers on board a Boeing 737 MAX (registered OO-MAX) took off this morning at 09:30 from Brussels Airport for Alicante and Malaga.
Gunther Hofman, Managing Director TUI fly Belgium: “We are delighted to be able to return our four Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to service. The safety of our passengers and crew is our top priority at all times and we have full confidence in this aircraft. which is the most tested aircraft in history and in the world. Of course, we depend on the Belgian government’s travel advisory for our upcoming flight schedule, but we hope to be able to resume regular flights soon with these four planes. ”
February 17, 2021