TUI operates first commercial 737 MAX flight in Europe since 2019 grounding
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
The first 737 MAX to return to commercial service in Europe since the beleaguered aircraft’s worldwide grounding in 2019 has done so on Wednesday.
TUI fly Belgium Flight 1011 took off from Brussels (BRU) at 9:43 a.m. for Malaga (AGP) on Wednesday morning, operated by one of the carrier’s Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.
The aircraft operating the flight, aptly registered as OO-MAX, is a 3-year-old 737 MAX 8, having been delivered to TUI fly Belgium in January 2018. The aircraft had been stored at the airline’s home airport of Brussels (BRU) since March 15, 2019, according to data from Planespotters.net.
Last week, TPG reported that low-cost Czech carrier Smartwings would be the first to resume 737 MAX commercial service in Europe. With a planned service on Feb. 25, from Prague (PRG) to Palma de Mallorca (PMI), QS1164 was set to be the first commercial return before TUI made an adjustment to its schedule.
The 737 MAX was grounded around the world in 2019 following two fatal crashes in late 2018 and early 2019. Investigators linked the incidents to the 737 MAX’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), Boeing’s new anti-stall system that reportedly malfunctioned and forced down the noses of the doomed planes.
TUI fly Belgium launched Wednesday’s flight with little fanfare about the return of its 737 MAX. In addition to OO-MAX, which operated Wednesday’s flight, the airline has three additional 737 MAX aircraft in its fleet.
TUI fly Belgium is a subsidiary of the larger TUI Group and part of TUI Airlines. However, it’s based in Belgium and mainly flies to short-haul leisure destinations in Europe, though it also has two 787 Dreamliners in its fleet.
The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) lifted its grounding of the 737 MAX in November 2020, and American Airlines first offered media a seat on board one of its MAX aircraft in December 2020. Since the lifting, several airlines in the U.S. have resumed service.
In January 2021, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) recertified the MAX to return to service in European skies.
Elsewhere in the U.K., TUI Airways and Ryanair are expected to enter their 737 MAX into service at some point this year. Amidst the international grounding of the aircraft, Ryanair boosted its order for the “gamechanger” aircraft by adding 75 more orders on top of its existing 135 on the books. It’s yet to take delivery of its first MAX.
Featured photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: Up to 100,000 bonus miles
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,040
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X miles on United® purchases
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80K bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 20K bonus miles after you spend $10,000 in the first 6 months
- $250 Annual Fee
- Earn 3X miles on United® purchases, 2X miles at restaurants, on select streaming services & all other travel, 1X on all other purchases
- Earn 3X miles on United Airlines purchases
- Earn 2X miles at restaurants and on select streaming services
- Earn 2X miles on all other travel
- Earn 1X mile on all other purchases
- Each year, receive a $125 credit on United® purchases and two 5k-mile anniversary award flight credits. Terms apply.