The United Arab Emirates cleared Boeing Co.’s 737 Max jet to fly again in its airspace, marking another step toward the aircraft’s global return to service.
Local airlines must first provide a plan for bringing the plane back safely, and develop a strategy to address differences between requirements set by U.S. and European regulators, the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority said Wednesday in a statement.
Foreign operators of the Max need to provide a compliance statement from home regulators, along with evidence of required pilot training.
Clearance in the UAE is important for Boeing because the country serves as an international air-travel crossroads via hub airports in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It’s also home to state-owned Flydubai, which has ordered 251 Max jets as it pursues an aggressive regional expansion. Those planes are meant to feed into longer-distance flights by its partner Emirates, which is also government-owned.
Flydubai has idled 14 Boeing Max jets it had in March 2019, when the model was grounded worldwide in the wake of a second deadly crash in five months.
Airlines in the U.S. and Brazil began to restart commercial flights with the Max late last year, after regulators there cleared its return. On Wednesday, TUI AG became the first company in Europe to begin flying passenger services with the 737 Max.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency last month cleared the Max, while adding further requirements not sought by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. In one example, pilots in Europe are allowed to intervene to stop a so-called stick-shaker alarm from continuing to vibrate after being erroneously activated. The Canadian regulator also adopted this approach.
China is one of the last big air-travel markets that hasn’t cleared the 737 Max’s return.