FlyDubai, a major government-based airline service provider, canceled the order of 65 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft it had agreed to purchase from Boeing. The company had previously put an order of 250 Boeing 737 Max with the aerospace company.
Boeing has already delivered 16 of the Boeing 737 MAX jets to the airlines; however, as a result of the 737 MAX jets getting grounded, the entry period of these aircraft into the service was broadly delayed. The FAA had just recently signed the order for the Boeing 737 MAX to return to the commercial service on 18th November 2020.
Did the FlyDubai cancel the order of Boeing 737 MAX had something to do with the aircraft getting banned for nearly two years?
Boeing 737 MAX Grounded
The Boeing 737 MAX was grounded worldwide on 13th March 2019 for the faulty flight control system blamed for two crashes. Both of the crashes happened five months apart, the first one on 29th October 2018 in Jakarta, Indonesia, which caused massive life loss of 189 people. The Indo Lion Air Flight 610 dove into the Java Sea after just 13 minutes of take-off from the Jakarta International Airport; it was disclosed that the pilots could not determine their true speed or altitude. The faulty sensor, improper maintenance procedures, and issues with the flight control system were reported to be the main cause of the crash in Indonesia’s final report in October 2019. The aircraft was a brand new addition to the lion Air airlines, which was just received three months before the incident.
The second crash that occurred on 10th March 2019 killed all 157 passengers and crew members that were on board. After taking off from Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, the pilot of the flight sent a distress call and was given immediate clearance for the landing; however, the flight crashed 40 miles away from the airport after just 6 minutes it had been on the air. The Ethiopian investigator also concluded their report with similar data to the Lion Air incident, the flawed flight control system, and defective sensors as the reason for the crash of Boeing 737 MAX operated by the Ethiopian Airlines that was just four years old.
But Why Cancel Now?
The government-based airline claims that its decision to cut down the huge number of aircraft is due to the effect the corona pandemic has had on travel. FlyDubai clarified that it is a strategy the airlines has adapted to deal with the impacts of the Covid-19 virus on the travel industry. The airline’s plan, in line with the changing dynamics of the airline’s route structure, might have been the prime factor to hold the order, for now, considering the significant drop of travelers worldwide due to the pandemic.
As of now, both of the parties involved seem to have reached an agreement, the statement released to Reuters from the FlyDubai on the matters of cancellation stated
“flydubai has reached an agreement with Boeing, and the airline has adjusted its aircraft orders which had been placed in 2013 and 2017.”
FlyDubai further stated that
“The airline currently flies 13 Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 3 of the larger Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft.”
On the other side, Boeing also seems to be doing pretty well despite the huge blow; in a released statement, the Boeing family stated how much they value their relationship with FlydDubai and grieved about the impact of Boeing 737 MAX getting banned for two-year had on the government-based airlines. Not only that, the Boeing family seems to be glad that they and FlyDubai found common ground and how this decision will help the partner airlines to manage the impacts the pandemic has caused.
So, it seems like both FlyDubai and Boeing are on good terms even after the cancellation and are doing quite well with their business endeavors. This might not have to do anything with the two-year grounding that Boeing 737 MAX had to face, and the incident just purely coincided with the post-pandemic fleet plan FlyDubai has prepped to recover from the catastrophe Covid-19 caused. Boeing plans to deliver an additional 11 of the Boeing 737 MAX by the end of 2021 to FlyDubai. The airlines had initially put an order for 250 Boeing 737 MAX, 130 Boeing 737 MAX 8, 70 Boeing 737 MAX 9, and 50 Boeing 737 MAX 10 before deducing the 65 Boeing 737 MAX from the order.