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Korean Air to fly first 737 Max aircraft in March

Boeing 737 Max (Korean Air)
Boeing 737 Max (Korean Air)
Korean Air said Monday that it will start operating its first Boeing 737 Max aircraft from March following the plane’s arrival in Seoul Sunday.

The upcoming launch comes as airlines around the world are bringing the Boeing jet back into service almost two years after a system failure led to two fatal crashes.

Boeing has said it has drastically improved the plane’s flight stabilizing program while enhancing pilot training. With its enhanced safety features, airlines resumed flying the 737 Max planes since last year.

Korean Air, the nation’s largest flag carrier, signed a deal for a total of 30 737 Max planes with Boeing in November 2015, but the shipment had been delayed due to months of safety investigations and improvements.

The air carrier has also come up with its own safety measures, dispatching a special maintenance team consisting of veteran engineers for routine checks and appointing pilots with more than 7,000 hours of flight experience to fly the new planes.

South Korea’s Transportation Ministry also plans to closely review the overall operation of airlines as it is joining simulator training and test flights.

Currently, there are 36 airlines that operate the Boeing aircraft, with 188 countries having given them the all clear.

Korean Air plans to bring a total of six 737 Max planes into service and operate 24 more until 2028.

“We will put all efforts for its safe operation under the supervision of the Transport Ministry. Our safety and security office will serve as a comprehensive control tower for the plane’s safe operation,” a Korean Air official said.

The Boeing 737 Max has 15 percent higher fuel efficiency compared to previous 737 jets. As a result, the plane is able to reduce maintenance costs by 12 percent and carbon emissions by 13 percent, according to Boeing.

By Hong Yoo (yoohong@heraldcorp.com)
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