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Brazil’s GOL Slated To Be First Airline With Commercial 737 MAX Flights

A GOL 737 MAX. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Katie Zera)

Brazil’s GOL Airlines will become the first carrier in the world to resume regular commercial flights with the now-infamous Boeing 737 MAX. The carrier has nearly 30 737 MAX flights scheduled in December.

Per a statement from the airline, GOL’s first MAX flight will be on Dec. 9. First flights will be between São Paulo and Guarulhos. The carrier hopes that it will end December with all seven of its 737 MAX 8 planes in service.

“Our priority is always the safety of our Clients,” said GOL VP of Operations and Chief Pilot Celso Ferrer, who has already trained to fly the 737 MAX.

“In the last 20 months, we have followed the development of the most comprehensive safety review in the history of commercial aviation, bringing together regulatory agencies and airlines from around the world, to monitor and contribute to system improvements and training of aircraft pilots,” Ferrer continued. “Consequently, after the new certification of the Boeing 737 MAX by FAA and by ANAC, we have total confidence in the return from MAX to service.”

In a partnership with Boeing, GOL has already conducted training for 140 of its pilots to meet the operational requirements for pilots to operate the 737 MAX. Unlike with previous iterations of the 737 family, pilots will need simulator training to fly the MAX in commercial service, not just the ground-based iPad training that was previously mandated.

“We are pleased about the return of the Boeing 737 MAX to our network. The MAX is one of the most efficient aircraft in aviation history and the only one to undergo a complete recertification process, ensuring the highest levels of safety and reliability,” GOL CEO Paulo Kakinoff said.

“We are grateful to the authorities who took part in the validation stages, especially [Brazilian aviation regulator] ANAC, which played a leading role in the certification, alongside other international regulators, thanks to its renowned competence and technical skills. We reiterate our trust in Boeing, our exclusive partner since GOL’s inception in 2001,” Kakinoff continued.

GOL has also flown a number of technical test flights on 737 MAX aircraft. It says that its planes exceed the requirements set out by regulatory agencies.

“These Safety actions reinforced the meticulous work of removing the MAX-8 aircraft from storage by the aviation engineers at GOL Aerotech, the Company’s business unit specialized in maintenance, repairs, aircraft servicing and components, based in Confins near the city of Belo Horizonte in southeast Brazil and where the aircraft were located for the past 20 months,” GOL’s statement reads.

GOL operates an all-Boeing fleet and has orders for an additional 95 737 MAX aircraft to replace its current 737NG planes. Deliveries are scheduled for 2022-2032. GOL says that the MAX is “critical to [our] expansion plans due to the greater fuel efficiency and reductions in carbon emissions.”

“Boeing and GOL have been working side by side for almost twenty years, and it was no different during the period when the MAX went through the certification process that made its safe return possible. It is a pleasure to be partners with GOL in reaching this important milestone and we look forward to what is yet to come in our partnership,” said Landon Loomis, Boeing’s managing director in Brazil.

Aviation regulators in the United States and Brazil recertified the 737 MAX late last month pending changes that Boeing must make to aircraft hardware and software. Besides GOL, American Airlines is also planning to restart MAX operations this month with a Dec. 29 flight between Miami and New York.

John McDermott


  • John McDermott

    John McDermott is a student at Northwestern University. He is also a student pilot with hopes of flying for the airlines. A self-proclaimed "avgeek," John will rave about aviation at length to whoever will listen, and he is keen to call out any airplane he sees, whether or not anyone around him cares about flying at all. John previously worked as a Journalist and Editor-In-Chief at Aeronautics Online Aviation News and Media. In his spare time, John enjoys running, photography, and watching planes approach Chicago O'Hare from over Lake Michigan.

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