MUSCAT:Oman Air has cancelled 454 flights between April1 and April 30, as a result of Public Authority for Civil Aviation’s (PACA) directives on suspending operations of Boeing 737 Max.
Some of the affected destinations are Salalah, Bahrain, Dubai, Riyadh, Doha, Kuwait, Kenya, Karachi, Amman, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Calicut and Goa.
“As a result of the Public Authority for Civil Aviation directives on suspending operations of Boeing 737 Max, we have cancelled the following flights in the period between 28th March and 30th April 2019. We are rebooking guests on alternative/next available flights to their destinations. We advise all our guests who are due to travel during the same period to check for flight status on https://www.omanair.com/FlightStatus or contact our call centre +96824531111,” Oman Air stated.
Oman Air and majority of the global airlines have grounded its Boeing 737 Max 8 flights following a crash in Ethiopia and Indonesia.
A737 Max jetliner of Ethiopian Airlines crashed in March soon after take-off, killing all 157 on board. A similar plane of Indonesia’s Lion Air crashed last October, killing all 189 people.
Although the exact cause of both crashes has yet to be determined, investigators in the Lion Air crash have indicated that MCAS (Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System) automated anti-stall system designed to point the nose of the 737 Max plane downward, if the plane is in danger of stalling, or losing lift, could be the reason for the crash.
When will the 737 MAX fly again?
According to Simply Flying, there is currently great uncertainty in the industry as to when the Boeing 737 MAX will fly again. While American Airlines pilots are testing out the software fix in Boeing’s simulators, much more still needs to be done. Firstly, the manufacturer needs to convince the FAA that the fix has remedied the problem. Next, it then has to convince other agencies including EASA.
After convincing aviation authorities that the aircraft is safe, the manufacturer will then need to convince airlines that the aircraft is once again safe. We know that airlines are not just acting on authority’s orders, as many grounded the plane before their respective aviation authority. Finally, Boeing will need to convince the public that the aircraft is safe to fly.
What do airlines think?
There is no clear consensus on when the Boeing 737 MAX will fly again according to airlines. However, it seems as though some airlines are banking on using the aircraft from July. Air Canada has currently removed the aircraft from its schedules until 1st July, while TUI has arranged cover for the aircraft until mid-July. TUI did, however, tell The Independent that there was “considerable uncertainty around when the 737 Max will return to service”. Additionally, Norwegian Airlines confirmed 18 of their aircraft are grounded. Additionally, a Comair representative added: “We continue to consult with Boeing, technical experts and other operators.”