Grounded since March of this year, after two crashes that left 346 people dead, the Boeing 737, could be making a return to the skies before the end of the year.
Travel Weekly reports that airlines are already booking passengers on Boeing 737 Max aircraft flights - and the bulk of these flights are scheduled on carriers such as Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, Norwegian, United Airlines and Icelandair - despite regulators not yet approving their return to service.
According to data compiled by flight intelligence specialist OAG, airlines booking these flights on the Max model is a clear indication that " airlines have been reassured by Boeing that the plane is certified as safe", with bookings for the 737 Max 8s showing up for future schedules starting as early as October through to December.
Traveller24 has reached out to Comair to confirm if they have received any regulatory approval to date. Comair is the only South African operator to have had a Boeing 737 Max 8 in service. It self-regulated by grounding its plane soon after the Ethiopians Airlines crash.
Travel and Leisure reports that analysts are predicting that its return could see a drop in airfare prices. But how so?
The grounding caused a backlog of aircraft as planes were not being used, while more were still being built. So, when reinstated, Boeing could see a significant capacity growth - subsequently upping seat capacity and availability, especially in the US. Some 82 MAXs are expected to be added to the fleet later this year.
Toss in a waning global economy, and prices will start to drop.
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The Boeing 737 Max is coming back, but as is a natural evolution in aviation – an industry that develops almost as fast as light – some aircraft are becoming outdated, especially when we consider the uptake in longer routes and extra-long haul flights.
OAG reports that the A340 and A380 are two of the aircraft that we’ll soon see eliminated from the skies.
“The A340 first entered service with Lufthansa in 1993 and at current run rates a lifespan that will probably not stretch beyond 2030 whilst the A380 will probably have no more than a 30-year lifespan given current market sentiment,” says OAG.
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British carrier Virgin Atlantic has confirmed that they will be retiring their five A340’s, while Air France confirmed an intent to retire their fleet of ten A380’s by the year 2022.
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