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Russia Ungrounds the Boeing 737 MAX for Friendlies Only

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DALLAS – After being suspended for more than two years, the Boeing 737 MAX is now permitted to fly in Russia. However, only MAX planes from nations that are “friendly” to Russia will be allowed to fly.

Russia is one of the last nations to resume using the type after it was grounded due to two fatal incidents in 2019. The Boeing 737-8 and 9 aircraft were banned from flying in Russian airspace. The lifting of the said ban came via a NOTAM that was released by the Russian Aeronautical Information Centre on July 20, 2022.

Another NOTAM forbade Boeing 737 MAX aircraft from countries on the “list of unfriendly nations” from entering Russia. The list came about amid Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

The US and EU gave the aircraft permission to fly in November 2020 and January 2021, respectively. Other nations quickly followed, though China, a significant market for Boeing, has not yet lifted its grounding.

AW_Michael-Rodeback-8-1024x683.jpgVP-BXI, S7 Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX. Photo: Michael Rodeback/Airways

Who Will Fly the MAX in Russia?

According to data from Flightradar24, a Belavia Belarusian Airlines (B2) Boeing 737-8 operating flight B2735 from Minsk (MSQ) to Tbilisi (TBS) in the afternoon of July 20 was the first Boeing 737 MAX to enter Russian airspace after the NOTAM was released.

On April 8, 2021, the flag carrier of Belarus received its first Boeing 737-8 acquired on lease from global leasing firm Air Lease Corporation.

S7 Airlines (S7) is the only Russian carrier to have the Boeing 737 MAX in the fleet. Leased in 2019, the two S7 MAX aircraft are still parked.

Featured image: Belavia Boeing 737-8 MAX. Photo: Boeing

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