Almost two years after the deadly crashes that killed 346 people, a Boeing 737 MAX departed with passengers from the Brussels Airport this morning, making it the first airport in Europe to see the plane off again.
The aircraft was previously banned in Belgium and many other countries following the fatal accidents that were the result of a failing safety system that pushed the nose of the aircraft down.
This morning’s flight left for Spain with 118 passengers, all of whom were informed in advance of the previous issues with the aircraft. None of the passengers chose to drop out of the flight after receiving this information.
“We actually barely got any response,” Piet Demeyere, a spokesperson for the charter airline TUI Fly Belgium, told Bruzz.
It was also the first commercial flight with a MAX aircraft in Europe since the approval by the European aviation authority EASA in late January, Eurocontrol director of air traffic control, Eamonn Brennan, reported on Twitter.
Now the #737MAX has been cleared to fly again by @EASA, we’re seeing its first European commercial flight by @TUIflyBelgium from @BrusselsAirport to Malaga@ECACceac @Transport_EU @IATA @A4Europe @ACI_EUROPE @CANSOEurope @flightradar24 pic.twitter.com/qAnS1nfObV— Eamonn Brennan (@eurocontrolDG) February 17, 2021
The Boeing 737 MAX passenger airliner was grounded worldwide between March 2019 and December 2020 - or for even longer in many places - while the American manufacturer worked out a solution via a software update.
Gradually, several countries are giving the aircraft the green light again.
In Belgium, TUI Fly has four 737 MAX aircraft in its fleet, which were parked at Brussels Airport for almost two years.
After test flights, the first two aircraft received approval from the Belgian aviation authority to carry passengers again.
“The safety of our passengers and crew has been our top priority all along and we have complete confidence in the 737 MAX, the most tested aircraft ever in history and around the world,” said Director Gunther Hofman of TUI Fly Belgium.
The Brussels Times