Montreal, Canada - Boeing 737 MAX operators are scrambling to book slots in 737 MAX training facilities after Boeing announced that simulator training is required for pilots before returning to the cockpit.
There are currently 34 737 MAX simulators across the world, which means thousands of pilots from more than 54 airlines need to be trained in these simulators before they can fly the plane.
“Boeing is recommending that all 737 MAX pilots undergo training in a 737 MAX simulator prior to flying the aircraft in commercial service,” said Boeing on Jan 23.
The 737 MAX simulators in service were produced separately by the Canadian manufacturer CAE Inc and the US manufacturer Textron.
I think that what a shortage of simulators will mean is the fleet of MAXs will start flying more slowly than what the airlines would like,
said Gudmundur Orn Gunnarsson, managing director of TRU Flight Training Iceland, a joint venture between Icelandair and Textron’s simulator and training division.
Gunnarsson also said TRU Flight Training Iceland was getting more requests than usual from airline operators to use its 737 MAX simulators since Boeing’s announcement about the additional simulator training.
Many airlines did not order 737 MAX simulators, assuming they could rely on the older 737 NG simulators because of the similarities between the two types.
Simulator prices vary from $7.64 million to $15.2 million. Hourly training rates can cost $500 to $1,000.
The new training requirement made the airlines line up in front of CAE and Textron's TRU for 737 MAX simulators.
Customers are making increasing inquiries from all over the globe,
a TRU spokesperson said.
Fiji Airways and Copa Airlines are some of the few operators to own 737 MAX simulators out of the US.
US airlines have more simulators, but they also have thousands of pilots to train.