Saudi Arabia became the second country in the Gulf region to permit B737 MAX operations after the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) cleared the type on February 28, 2021.
The decision does not directly impact any Saudi carriers as none of them currently operates any B737 MAX. However, the GACA underlined that multiple foreign carriers operate the type on flights to and over the country. The decision is of particular importance to flydubai (FZ, Dubai Int’l), which has eleven B737-8s and three B737-9s awaiting return to service. The Emirati authorities have already allowed the resumption of the type’s operations, although the carrier has yet to implement the mandated changes.
No Saudi carrier has any firm B737 MAX orders. flyadeal (F3, Jeddah), the low-cost carrier owned by Saudia, once had an order for fifty of the Boeing narrowbodies but cancelled it during the type’s grounding, opting for the A320neo family instead.