Icelandair set to start flying 737 MAX on Monday
The plan as it stands is to fly one of the planes, called Mývatn, to Copenhagen on Monday, the 8th March, and the other plane, Búlandstindur, is expected to return to service shortly afterwards.
A statement from the airline says that people who would prefer to fly on a different model of plane will be allowed to change their bookings for free for a limited period.
"It is perfectly normal, in light of what happened, that some customers would be a little hesitant,” Bogi Nils told RÚV by phone. The company has prepared for such reactions, he added.
Icelandair’s 737 MAX planes have been in storage in Spain, but two returned to Iceland in mid-February and mechanics have been working to upgrade them in line with the demands of aviation authorities; as well as performing routine maintenance.
Pilots are also training, both in the classroom and the flight simulator, at the Icelandair training centre in Hafnarfjörður. Icelandair is one of a small handful of airlines in the world that has a specific Boeing 737 MAX flight simulator.
Following updates to both planes and pilots alike, test flights will take place without passengers. Bogi says there is no cause to mistrust the planes now that their safety equipment has been updated in line with regulators’ demands.
"The grounding has been lifted. That would never have happened unless the planes were considered very safe,” Bogi tells RÚV—adding that they have gone through a rigorous process.
"Changes were made to various equipment. The aviation authorities believe they are very safe planes, and we do too.”
The grounding of the 737 MAX has now been lifted in the USA, Canada, and Europe, for aircraft with equipment that has been updated in line with regulator demands. Pilot training has also been made more stringent for the new planes.