The Boeing 737 Max is staging a strong comeback following its recertification to fly according to new research from Cirium.European carriers having been leading the way this month, lifting the in-service fleet above 100 for the first time since the resumption of revenue flights in early December.
The latest-generation twinjet’s 12 operators logged over 1,300 flights during the seven days to March 3rd.Leading the pack was American Airlines, with nearly 400 services using 27 aircraft out of 31 so far returned to operation, providing more than 107 million available seat kilometres (ASKs).
Gol of Brazil – the first airline to resume commercial operations, from December 9th – set the pace in terms of per-aircraft utilisation.
Flying its eight examples for an average of nearly 11 hours daily during the past week – compared with fewer than six hours for American – Gol’s Max aircraft delivered more than 82 million ASKs over the seven-day period.
In Europe, TUI flies Belgium’s two in-service aircraft registered six tracked flights, while Czechia’s Smartwings recorded the same number of flights with a single aircraft.
The Max programme received a further shot in the arm on March 1st when United Airlines – currently operating 12 aircraft with 18 in storage – announced an order for an additional 25, taking its backlog to 188.
Meanwhile Saudi Arabia’s regulator approved the Max to re-enter service on March 2nd, after Australia on February 26th became the first Asia Pacific nation to lift its ban on Max flights to and from the country.
However, it remains unclear when the Max will return to flight status in the crucial Chinese market, with that country’s regulator yet to agree a schedule for re-certification test flights.
Cirium fleets data shows Chinese operators have 97 Max aircraft in storage and a further 209 firm orders allocated to them.
The in-service Max fleet previously peaked at 360 aircraft in early 2019, prior the type’s worldwide grounding following fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.