The MAX is back: Low-cost airline slates first commercial Boeing 737 MAX flight in Europe for this month
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.
Boeing’s once-beleaguered 737 MAX aircraft is set to make its return to commercial flying in Europe this month.
Sign up to receive the daily TPG newsletter for more aviation news!
If the flight goes ahead as planned, it will be the first time a 737 MAX aircraft will have carried passengers in European air space since it was grounded in March 2019 following a spate of fatal crashes. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) officially ungrounded the Boeing 737 MAX on Jan. 27, allowing it to return to European skies.
Operating the first flight is Smartwings, a Czech-operated low-cost airline. As it stands now, the flight will depart the airline’s Prague (PRG) hub at 6:05 p.m. and fly to Palma de Mallorca (PMI) where it will land at 8:35 p.m. before returning back to Prague, according to the flight timetable listed on Expert Flyer.
In total, the airline has seven MAXs in its fleet — all of which are currently parked in Prague.
The airline is reportedly planning on bringing all seven of its MAXs back to service for the summer, operating them primarily on longer routes from Prague (PRG) to the Canaries, the UAE, Oman and Cape Verde.
TPG reached out to Smartwings to find out more about its first MAX flight but did not receive a response by time of publication.
Closer to home, the airlines with the most MAXs either already in their fleet or on order are Tui and Ryanair. However, it’s likely to be some time still before passengers are back flying on MAXs in the U.K. given the current lockdown restrictions, which render non-essential travel illegal.
While it’s been a long time since passengers flew a MAX in the U.K., a TUI 737 MAX aircraft entered U.K. airspace back in September when it flew without passengers from Spain to Birmingham Airport (BHX) for maintenance. Special permission had to be granted by the CAA and EASA for the ferry flight to take place.
On the other side of the Atlantic, the U.S. has lifted restrictions. In November, the aircraft had been granted permission to retake to the skies above America. The aircraft officially returned to service on Dec. 3, 2020, on a media flight when it flew from Dallas (DFW) to Tulsa (TUL).
The aircraft also returned to service in Brazil in December.
The aircraft has undergone vital changes and modifications for it to be certified to fly commercially again.
Other European carriers, such as Norwegian and Icelandair, also have MAX flights scheduled for March 1 and March 8, respectively. Given current travel restrictions due to COVID-19, these schedules are subject to change.
- AvGeekery for beginners: How to tell Boeing 737s apart
- United Airlines will fly the Boeing 737 MAX from two of its largest hubs when it returns in 2021
- United slates first commercial 737 MAX flight for Feb 2021
- GOL to fly world’s longest 737 flights between US and Brazil
Featured image courtesy Smart Wings
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.