Fiji Airways (FJ, Nadi) has announced it has received the go-ahead from the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji (CAAF) to restart commercial B737-8 operations, although both of its aircraft of the type remain at Alice Springs airport for the time being.

"The past eight months have been spent planning for the aircraft’s eventual re-certification and reviewing all return-to-service requirements from our regulators," Managing Director and Chief Executive Andre Viljoen said. "I am proud of our prior investment in mandatory training for our pilots in a Full Flight Simulator for the B737 MAX, over and above the minimum requirements when we initially introduced the aircraft into our fleet."

The Fijian carrier has yet to announce any timeline for the aircraft's return to service. Due to ongoing travel restrictions, Fiji Airways currently operates only repatriation and international cargo flights.

Eventually, it plans to use the B737 MAX 8s mainly on its routes to Australia and New Zealand. Regulators in both countries have already permitted the type's operations.

Besides the two already delivered B737-8s, which are dry-leased from GECAS, Fiji Airways has a further three units on direct order from Boeing, the ch-aviation fleets advanced module shows. It is the only active operator of the B737 MAX in Oceania. Virgin Australia (VA, Brisbane Int'l) and Air Niugini (PX, Port Moresby) both have the type on order but have yet to take delivery of their first aircraft.

The CAAF said that it had decided to adopt exactly the same requirements for the operator as specified by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Some other regulators, including the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), chose to impose marginally more stringent rules.