A flydubai aircraft Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: UAE travellers flying to more than 10 destinations with flydubai can expect to encounter some cancellations, as the budget carrier complies with the latest directive to ground Boeing 737 Max airplanes following the Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed more than 100 passengers.

The UAE-based airline confirmed on Wednesday that flight frequencies to several routes in the Middle East and Europe have been cut, including Amman, Alexandria, Baghdad, Bahrain, Baku, Basra, Beirut, Dammam, Khartoum, Kuwait, Moscow, Muscat, Prague and Riyadh.

Passengers travelling to any of these cities will see up to a total of 15 flight cancellations each day until the suspension of Boeing 737 Max planes is lifted, according to flydubai.

The budget carrier is the only major airline based in the UAE that operates Boeing 737 Max planes. The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority issued a decision on Tuesday that effective March 13, all aircraft of the same model will be banned in UAE airspace.

flydubai assured that its team is working hard to minimise disruption to its passengers, adding that those that are affected will be contacted directly by the staff.

Customers are also advised to keep up to date with any future flight changes through flydubai’s Facebook account and official website.

“Following the safety decision issued by the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), flydubai’s fleet of 13 Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 aircraft has been grounded as a precautionary safety measure. flydubai is working on all the operational aspects that this decision will entail,” the airline said in a statement.

flydubai has a total of 11 Boeing 737 Max 8 airplanes in operation. Last year, it received seven 737 Max deliveries from the American manufacturer.

Safety concerns over the new 737, said to be Boeing’s best-selling plane, started to emerge after an Ethiopian Airlines aircraft of the same model crashed on Sunday, killing all the 157 people onboard.

It was the second 737 Max to crash in just a few months. On October 2018, Lion Air’s Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed into the Java Sea minutes after takeoff.

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Boeing had earlier issued a safety bulletin in the wake of the Lion Air crash, alerting airlines that the plane could suddenly dive due to faulty readings on one of the aircraft’s sensors.

China and Indonesia were among the first countries to order the suspension of Boeing 737 Max aircraft following the latest fatal accident. A number of countries have since followed suit, banning planes of the same model in their airspace.

Up to 15 flights a day will be cancelled on these destinations:

• Amman

• Alexandria

• Baghdad

• Bahrain

• Baku

• Basra

• Beirut

• Dammam

• Khartoum

• Kuwait

• Moscow

• Muscat

• Prague

• Riyadh