Dubai: Dubai carrier flydubai has confirmed that ‘no further action’ will be required on the Boeing 737 MAX 9 matter.
This statement follows the decision by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ground a substantial number of these aircraft in the wake of an incident involving an Alaska Airlines plane, which had to make an emergency landing due to a cabin blowout. The flight was carrying 171 passengers and six crew.
flydubai’s fleet includes three 737 MAX 9s in service since 2018.
An airline spokesperson explained that the three aircraft flydubai has in its fleet have always been configured with deactivated mid-aft exit doors, which is not included in the directive (FAA’s Emergency Airworthiness Directive).
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The directive requires operators to inspect affected aircraft before further flight. The required inspections will take around four to eight hours per aircraft, and the EAD will affect approximately 171 airplanes worldwide, said the FAA.
flydubai said, “The issue mentioned in the Directive is with regards the aircraft that have the configuration that uses ‘mid cabin door plug’ which we don’t have on our three aircraft.”
On the 737-9 MAX, Boeing includes a rear cabin exit door aft of the wings but before the back exit door. This is activated in dense seating configurations to meet evacuation requirements.
Commenting on the impact the MAX 9 groundings would have on airline operations, aviation consultancy OAG’s John Grant said the groundings are applicable for a specific variant of the B737-900 where airlines have elected not to operate with maximum capacity and then effectively sealed the additional overwing emergency exit that would be in place if the aircraft was operating at full capacity.
“By default, low-cost airlines, for instance, operating with maximum aircraft capacity are likely not to be affected,” said Grant. He said the groundings have the potential to have a slight impact, but many of the required checks can be undertaken in scheduled downtime on aircraft or by overnight checks.
“For many airlines, the next few weeks are a relatively quiet period in which some flights would normally not be operating, so at least from that perspective, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue in the (MENA) region,” said Grant.