Passengers won't always know if they're due to fly on Boeing 737 Max

UK airline passengers won’t always know if they are due to fly on a Boeing 737 Max – with Ryanair saying it would be ‘impossible’ to let customers know in advance

  • The Boeing 737 Max has been cleared to fly again by regulators in the US  
  • Once it receives European clearance, Tui and Ryanair will operate the model 
  • Norwegian Air, which also operates in the UK, has the 737 Max in its fleet 

Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft has been cleared to fly again by US regulators following two fatal crashes that grounded the plane. 

In the UK, Tui and Ryanair will be operating the model once it receives clearance to take to the skies from European regulators. 

But passengers won’t always know beforehand if they are due to step onboard one – with Ryanair saying it would be ‘impossible’ to let customers know in advance.

Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft has been cleared to fly again by US regulators following two fatal crashes that grounded the planes. In the UK, Tui and Ryanair will be operating the model once it can fly again in Europe

Tui has said that it is ‘their intention’ to inform passengers if they are due to fly on a Boeing 737 Max before it is re-introduced to its fleet.

It said in a statement: ‘The FAA approval is an important milestone for a safe re-entry-into-service of the Boeing 737 Max. Nevertheless, the EASA consultation approval won’t take place before January 2021. We’ll await the outcome and decide at a later stage when the Max will be used again.

‘Before we reintroduce the 737 Max into our fleet we will be looking at the best way to inform customers and is our intention to do so. We currently only highlight when customers will fly on a 787 Dreamliner.’

Ryanair, which has 135 of the aircraft on order and had been due to start taking delivery of them in 2019, told Which? Travel that if the 737 Max is deemed safe to fly in Europe again, it will not alert passengers if they are due to travel on one. It said it would be ‘impossible’, explaining that aircraft allocation decisions are ‘only made the day before a flight departure’.

It also told the consumer champion it would not allow customers to amend their bookings for free to fly on another aircraft type if the 737 Max was being used and said it will only operate the aircraft following ‘the most extensive certification process ever conducted by the FAA, EASA and other regulators’.

Norwegian Air has the 737 Max in its fleet but is not currently operating any flights in or out of the UK due to the impact of Covid-19 and the subsequent travel restrictions. 

It said this scenario is unlikely to change for a number of months.

Tui has said that it is ‘their intention’ to inform passengers if they are due to fly on a Boeing 737 Max before it is re-introduced to its fleet

The Boeing 737 Max aircraft has been grounded worldwide since March 2019 after 346 people died in two separate crashes.

The first happened in October 2018 when an Indonesian Lion Air 737 Max plunged into the Java Sea shortly after takeoff. Five months later, an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max crashed minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa International Airport.

In both accidents, a stall-prevention system known as MCAS, triggered by faulty data from a single airflow sensor, repeatedly and forcefully shoved down the jet’s nose as the pilots struggled to regain control.

US Federal Aviation Administration chief Stephen Dickson signed an order on Wednesday rescinding the grounding. 

U.S airlines will fly the Max once Boeing updates critical software and computers and pilots receive training in flight simulators.

Some travel experts expect consumers to be wary of flying in the Max at first, but say that unease should dissipate once the jet establishes a record of reliability. 

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