Boeing 737 Max set to return to Australian skies after regulator lifts ban

Other countries including UAE, Canada, US and Brazil also approved the plane's return to commercial service

FILE PHOTO: A Boeing 737 MAX airplane lands after a test flight at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, U.S. June 29, 2020. REUTERS/Karen Ducey/File Photo
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Australia’s aviation regulator lifted a two-year ban on flights involving Boeing 737 Max jets, making it the first nation in the Asia-Pacific region to do so.

"We have accepted the comprehensive return-to-service requirements specified by the FAA [the Federal Aviation Administration in the US] as the state of design for the 737 Max," said Graeme Crawford, acting chief of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, in a statement on Friday.

The regulator said it was "confident the aircraft are safe”.

The FAA and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency recently approved the Boeing 737 Max's return to the skies.

No Australian airline has the jet on its fleet. However, Fiji Airways and Singapore Airlines operated the 737 Max on flights to Australia before it was grounded.

“With Covid-19 continuing to disrupt international air travel, there is currently no indication when Singapore Airlines and Fiji Airways will resume their operations to Australia,” said Mr Crawford.

Boeing’s best-selling narrow-body jet was grounded around the world in March 2019 after two crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people.

The incidents triggered a series of investigations, led to aircraft certification reforms and cost Boeing about $20 billion.

Earlier this month, the UAE's civil aviation regulator also lifted a 23-month ban on the Boeing 737 Max jet and deemed the aircraft safe to return to the skies, the state-run news agency Wam reported earlier this month.

The UAE is home to flydubai, one of the world's biggest customers of the 737 Max aircraft.

Other countries including the UK, Canada, the US and Brazil also approved the jet’s return to service after technical modifications and pilot training.