On Saturday 27 July, TUI fly has been flying back to the Netherlands a Boeing 737 MAX which had to land in Bulgaria after the general flight ban on the type. The aircraft had to make a detour because Germany bans all Boeing 737 MAX flights, including ferry flights, over its territory.
Since March, all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft have been grounded after the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes. Due to the unexpected flight ban, two aircraft from TUI fly Netherlands remained grounded abroad: one in Las Palmas came back to Amsterdam earlier; the other one had to land in Sofia, Bulgaria, and to wait months for permission to return to the Netherlands.
The latter aircraft, registered PH-TFO, flew empty to Amsterdam airport Schiphol last Saturday on flight TFL064F. From Sofia, Bulgaria, it flew at low altitude (FL200) and low speed (300 mph) over Romania, Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland and Denmark in order to avoid German airspace where it is prohibited. The speed and altitude were specially selected to avoid problems with the controversial MCAS system which caused the two fatal accidents.
The aircraft is now stored at Schiphol with two sister planes until the Boeing 737 MAX ban will be lifted.