Flydubai 'working closely' with Boeing and US regulator ahead of 737 Max re-certification

Low-cost carrier will not return jet to service until approved by the UAE regulator

Flydubai will not return its grounded Boeing 737 Maxs into service unless it receives approval from the UAE civil aviation regulator. Galen Clarke / The National

Flydubai, the second-biggest customer of the Boeing 737 Max globally, is working closely with the US planemaker and its aviation regulator ahead of the jet's certification as global regulators consider whether the jet can safely return to the skies.

The UAE's low-cost carrier will not return the grounded single-aisle aircraft into service before it gets the go-ahead from the UAE aviation regulator General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Flydubai said in a statement on Friday.

"Flydubai is working closely with Boeing and its regulator ahead of certification of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft which will not rejoin the operational schedule until it has received regulatory approval by the GCAA," a Flydubai spokesman said. "With the grounding of the aircraft, Flydubai continues to minimise the disruption to its passengers."

The GCAA could not be reached for comment on Thursday and outside business hours on Friday.

The carrier's comments came after the US Federal Aviation Administration's acting administrator Dan Elwell met with international air regulators for eight hours in Fort Worth, Texas to discuss the troubled jet. The industry workhorse was grounded after the model was involved in two deadly crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia within the space of five months.

Flydubai is in talks with Boeing's European rival Airbus for an order of the competing A320 Neo narrow-body model in the absence of a timeframe for the return of the troubled Maxs to the skies.

The low-cost carrier is seeking compensation from Boeing for its grounded 14 Boeing 737 Maxs and believes the US planemaker’s communication about fixes on the jet can be improved, its chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, said last month.

Reuters reported that the FAA expects to approve Boeing's 737 MAX jet to return to service as soon as late June, representatives of the US air regulator informed members of the United Nations' aviation agency in a private briefing on Thursday, according to sources.

Boeing said last week it had completed an update to the jet's software, known as MCAS, which would stop erroneous data from triggering an anti-stall system that automatically turned down the noses of the two planes that crashed, despite pilot efforts to prevent it from doing so.

Boeing has yet to formally submit the fix to the FAA and has not set a date to do so.