Australia has given clearance for Singapore Airlines’ SilkAir to store its six Boeing 737 Max aircraft in the country, as the global grounding of the jet continues following two deadly crashes within the past 12 months.
SilkAir has provided flight plans and the first aircraft is expected to arrive in Alice Springs, central Australia, on Monday, according to Peter Gibson, a spokesperson at the Australian government’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
The aircraft will be flown by experienced Boeing pilots using a “flight profile which ensures there can be no activation of MCAS,” Gibson said in an email, referring to the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System feature linked to the crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people.
The pilots have also received training in recovery actions in case an MCAS-related event occurs, Gibson said. CASA has worked closely with aviation regulators in Singapore and Indonesia to review and coordinate the ferry flights, he said.
A Singapore Airlines representative said the company doesn’t have information to share about the matter at this point.
It is still unclear when the Max 737 will resume scheduled flights as investigations by various authorities around the world are ongoing. CASA said it is following flight profiles for ferrying the aircraft in the US, Canada and Europe. In one California facility, the cost of storage runs to about $2 000 (R30 000) a month for a plane, according to an industry veteran.