Trinidad and Tobago’s acting Prime Minister Colm Imbert has skirted a question on whether Caribbean Airlines is considering cancelling the lease arrangement with Boeing for twelve 737 Max aircraft.
In responding to a question posed in the Senate yesterday, Imbert said Caribbean Airlines has made arrangements to extend the leases of its current fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft if required.
He said last December, the airline executed agreements with two lessors for operating leases with twelve 737 Max aircraft to replace the current fleet of 737 jets.
He said subsequent to the two crashes involving Max aircraft, Caribbean Airlines had been in constant contact with the lessors and Boeing in order to be fully apprised of the developments and findings as regulatory investigations take place.
The Acting Prime Minister says in terms of the status of the agreement to lease the Max 8 aircraft, the lease agreement is subject to the lessor providing all approval documentation and certification of air worthiness from the US Federal Aviation Administration, which has not yet occurred.
He added that if the aircraft are not certified as air worthy then Caribbean Airlines will be under no obligation to accept or pay for them.
And the Boeing 737 Max, grounded for the last six months after two fatal crashes, might not return to service in every country on the same timeline, depending on when global regulators deem the plane airworthy.
Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg made the revelation yesterday.
The manufacturer has developed a software fix for the jets, its best-selling plane, but has not yet submitted it to regulators for approval.
Mr. Muilenburg told an industry conference that Boeing still expects the planes to return to service early in the fourth quarter, but regulators across the globe may not clear it for flight at the same time.
The Boeing 737 Max was grounded after two fatal crashes that killed all 346 people on board.
The second crash, of an Ethiopian Airlines jet minutes after it took off on March 10, brought swift action around the world to ground the 737s.