New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority has approved the Boeing 737 MAX’s return to the country’s airspace.
According to the CAA’s announcement on June 24, 2021, the authority’s permission will initially cover two of Fiji Airways’ five Boeing 737 MAX planes. Before resuming to service in the country, the remaining three airline jets of the kind will need to wait for a separate approval.
It also implies that the airline is free to reactivate its two Boeing 737 MAX 8s, DQ-FAB and DQ-FAD, which have been in storage in Alice Springs, Australia, since the MAX was grounded in 2019.
The CAA Deputy Chief Executive David Harrison was reported in the authority’s statement as saying, “We have extensively and independently assessed the work completed by Fiji Airways to bring their 737 MAX aircraft back into service and are sure these aircraft are safe to return to operation.”
“Due to the developing COVID-19 situation, the date for these aircraft to be introduced to flying itineraries between New Zealand and Fiji has yet to be determined. […] However, passengers can rest assured that every effort has been made to guarantee that all required safety upgrades have been implemented so that when these planes return to New Zealand’s skies, they do so safely,” he added.
The decision comes more than two years after New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) followed the lead of other countries and barred the Boeing 737 MAX from its airspace in March 2019.