With Boeing 737 Max grounded some routes no longer feasible

DENVER — The Boeing 737 Max has enabled airlines to fly
further than they could before with a narrowbody jet. 

And so, the plane type’s worldwide grounding following the
Ethiopian Airlines crash has left some airlines struggling to fly routes that
are ideal for the 737 Max but not so for other aircraft. 

Executives of the Orlando and Denver airports discussed the
challenges faced by two airlines, Gol and Cayman Airways, at the CAPA Centre
for Aviation’s 2019 Americas Aviation Summit.

Last November, Gol launched Brasilia-Orlando service, the
longest Boeing 737 route in the world. The Brazilian carrier had said the Max 8
enabled it to begin flying to North America. 

With the Max 8 grounded, Gol is flying an older-generation
Boeing 737 NG on the daily Brasilia-Orlando route, said Vicki Jaramillo,
Orlando International Airport’s senior director for marketing and air service
development. 

But since NGs don’t have the range to fly the approximately
4,000 miles between Brasilia and Orlando, Gol is stopping in Punta Cana to
refuel.

Gol’s international expansion plans are likely on hold
because of the 737 Max grounding. In December, the airline had said it planned
to introduce a new international destination each quarter for the next two
years due to the Max 8. 

Similarly, Cayman Airways touted the Max 8 earlier this
month, when the airline launched service from Grand Cayman to Denver — the
furthest west the airline has flown.

Since grounding the 737 Max, Cayman Airways has flown the
route with a Boeing 737-300, which required an inbound refueling stop in
Dallas/Fort Worth, said Laura Jackson, Denver International Airport’s vice
president of air service development. Cayman has also used charter carrier
Eastern Airlines, which flew Grand Cayman-Denver with a Boeing 767-300
widebody.

Other airlines have had to make similar moves. Instead of
the much smaller Max 8, Norwegian Air is using widebody Boeing 787 Dreamliners
on routes from Europe to New York Stewart (an airport about 60 miles north of
Manhattan).

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