The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) lifted the ban of the Boeing 737 MAX from flying into and out of Singapore on Sunday, more than two years after it was grounded.
CAAS said that it would authorize the restoration of the Boeing 737 MAX to service if operators followed guidelines and completed extra flight crew training requirements.
In reaction to the removal of the suspension, Singapore Airlines said Monday that its pilots qualified to fly the Boeing 737 MAX would get further training before returning the aircraft to the airline’s fleet.
Singapore Airlines stated that more information on when the plane would be reintroduced into service and on which routes would be provided at a later date.
In Singapore, Singapore Airlines is the sole operator of the 737 MAX. SilkAir, its regional subsidiary, was the sole operator of the narrowbody jet until it was suspended by aviation authorities in 2019. SilkAir has now fully merged with its parent firm, leaving Singapore Airlines as the country’s sole 737 MAX operator.
Following the merger in 2020, Singapore Airlines gained six 737 MAX jets from Silkair to its fleet, and according to planespotters.net, the airline presently has eight more of the 737 MAX 8 model — the smallest of the three MAX family of aircraft — on order.
Earlier this year, Singapore Airlines began operating Boeing 737-800 jets on regional trips.
Singapore Airlines stated that in order to be recertified on the aircraft, pilots must finish a rigorous training program that includes computer-based learning as well as simulator training.
The additional training will assist Singapore Airlines’ crew in becoming acquainted with potential flight scenarios as well as Boeing’s latest upgrades to the jet.
The 737 MAX’s return to Singapore comes many months after the Boeing jet returned to service for several airlines across the world, including those in the United States, Latin America, and Europe.
Grounding orders for the planes were just recently removed in Australia, Japan, India, and Malaysia. Singapore is the second Southeast Asian country to authorize 737 MAX operations, following Malaysia.
Singapore’s CAAS stated that it removed its suspension on 737 MAX jets after reviewing Boeing’s design revisions to the aircraft as well as the jet’s safety record during the previous nine months. They decided that the plane has “no major safety problems.”
Singapore grounded the 737 MAX in March 2019 after two deadly crashes involving the plane. In October 2018, an Indonesia-based Lion Air 737 MAX crashed, killing 157 people, and in March 2019, an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed, killing 157 people.
GOL Airlines, a Brazilian airline, was the first to reintroduce the plane into service, with the inaugural flight taking place on December 9, 2020. GOL reintroduced the aircraft into service just ten days after Brazilian officials lifted the restriction.