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Contact us

{{tituloCategoria}}

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About the Boeing 737 MAX-9

Following a 20-month comprehensive and robust evaluation and inspection process, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and aeronautical authorities of different countries lifted flight restrictions for the Boeing 737 MAX model, validating the security and reliability levels required for a safe return to operations.

Here you will find more information regarding the actions that both, Boeing and Copa Airlines, have taken to ensure a safe return to service for its 737 MAX-9 fleet.

Changes made by Boeing to the 737 MAX-9

Boeing made improvements to the 737 MAX flight control software and strengthened the training required for pilots flying this model. This entire process was carried out in close collaboration with numerous international civil aviation authorities, such as the FAA, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), among others.

Software

Before

MCAS activated based on input from a single Angle of Attack (AOA) sensor

Pilots had to repeatedly counteract MCAS as long as a sensor was providing data of high angle of attack.

Crew could cut out power to the stabilizer trim motor and use manual trim wheel.

Now

MCAS now compares input from two AOA sensors before activating.

MCAS will only activate if data from both sensors agree that angle of attack is high.

Crew continues to be able to cut out power to the stabilizer trim motor and use manual trim wheel.

MCAS will activate once per high angle of attack event and pilots can always override MCAS without the system activating automatically a second time.

Established Requirements for the Safe Return of the 737 MAX-9

Committed with the safety of its passengers and flight crews, Copa Airlines' pilots have been trained and educated beyond the minimum requirements established by the authorities for each phase of the 737 MAX-9 return-to-service process.

Authorities requirements

One hour and a half of Computer Based Training (CBT) for each pilot

Two flight simulator hours per crew

One test flight for each Max-9 that returns to service

Actions taken by Copa Airlines

Seven and a half hours of Computer Based Training (CBT) for each pilot

Four flight simulator hours per crew

A minimum of three test flights for each MAX-9 that returns to service

Special configuration of Copa Airlines' 737 MAX-9

Copa Airlines' Boeing 737 MAX-9 aircraft provide special benefits designed to offer you more comfort and convenience during your flight, such as our exclusive Dreams Business Class, which has 16 flat beds and state-of-the-art 16-inch touch screens. Additionally, the main cabin has 24 Economy Extra seats, with more space, more entertainment options, and more comfort. Also, the Main Cabin has USB ports at each seat and larger overhead bins. And throughout the entire plane, our passengers can access the Copa Showpass wireless entertainment system using their own personal device to enjoy a variety of movies, music, and other content.

The video below better illustrates this information:

Frequently Asked Questions

General Information about the 737 MAX-9

How can I trust that the 737 MAX is safe?

The 737 MAX and its software have undergone an unprecedented level of global regulatory supervision, testing and analysis, becoming one of the most thoroughly inspected aircrafts in the history. From its operational suspension, the MAX has completed more than:

  • 900 test flights with the updated MCAS software, totaling 1,700 flight hours.
  • 99,000 engineering and test hours.
  • 288 engineering and simulator sessions.
  • 30 simulator sessions with regulatory authorities worldwide, totaling 140 hours.

Boeing redesigned the operation of the aircraft's Angle of Attack (AOA) sensors and the flight control software, which is known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). Now, the MCAS compares the information from both AOA sensors – instead of just one - before activating it, adding a new layer of protection. Additionally, MCAS will now only activate once, and pilots will continue to have the ability to override MCAS at any time.

When will the 737 MAX-9 resume operation?

Copa expects to resume commercial operations of its first 737 MAX-9 aircraft by early January 2021, while the rest of our MAX-9 fleet will gradually return to service during the first quarter of 2021.

What destinations will the 737 MAX-9 operate?

The MAX-9 will fly to all of our destinations, with a focus on long haul flights, such as Los Angeles, Montevideo, Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo.

When Copa Airline originally operated the MAX, was there any technical problem that put flight safety at risk?

No. Copa Airlines' Boeing 737 MAX-9 fleet began commercial operations in September 2018, and did around 1,400 flights and more than 7,700 flight hours until March 2019, registering optimal reliability and operational performance indexes. While in service, the 737 MAX-9 fleet contributed to our global statistics, allowing us to maintain our position among the best in the industry, with an on-time performance of more than 92% and a completion factor of 99.8%.

What are the differences between the Boeing 737-800 fleet and the MAX-9?

The Boeing 737 MAX-9 is the newest version of the most popular and successful aircraft in aviation history. The MAX model has advanced technologies and amenities that guarantee an efficient, environmentally friendly and pleasant trip, such as:

  • The LEAP-1B engine is the most advanced and silent in the world, reducing 40% of noise pollution, and, along with the AT winglets (located in the wingtip), offers increased efficiency and optimization of aircraft performance, improving up to 14% of fuel consumption and reducing 50% of the amount of polluting gasses emitted.
  • Overhead compartments for carry-on, with almost 50% more storage space.
  • Copa Showpass, a modern wireless onboard entertainment system that passengers can access by connecting to the aircraft’s internal network from a computer or mobile device. When accessing through the Copa Airlines app or a browser, travelers will be able to choose from different Hollywood, Panamanian and Latin American films, TV series, magazines, documentaries and music.
  • The Dreams Business Class, includes 16 lie-flat seats, each equipped with a 16-inch touch screen with remote control, power and USB connectors, and twice as much space for storing personal items.
  • Economy Extra features 24 seats with more legroom, 10-inch touchscreens, an individual USB input and two alternating current (AC) outputs in each three seats row.
  • Economy Class has been renewed with modern and stylish seats, individual USB ports and a mobile device holder, that will allow passengers to enjoy the wide variety of available entertainment through Copa Showpass.

About our 737 MAX-9 fleet maintenance

What changes were made to the 737 MAX?

Boeing redesigned the operation of the aircraft's Angle of Attack (AOA) sensors and the flight control software, which is known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). Now, the MCAS compares the information from both AOA sensors – instead of just one - before activating it, adding a new layer of protection. Additionally, MCAS will now only activate once, and pilots will continue to have the ability to override MCAS at any time.

What are the required procedures to reactivate the MAX fleet and safe return to service?

The preparation process for each 737 MAX-9 aircraft consist of the following steps:

  • Installation of the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) software updates required by the authorities in every 737 MAX-9 aircraft and flight simulators.
  • Pilot training.
  • Operative manuals update.
  • Required inspections and tests to evaluate the correct functioning of all aircraft systems.
  • Three test flights to evaluate the correct functioning of all systems before resuming commercial flights.

The whole process is carried out together with the Civil Aviation Authority of Panama (AAC) who certifies each stage of the process.

What maintenance was performed to the MAX aircrafts during the nearly two years grounding under the Panama weather?

From the moment the MAX fleet was taken out of service, Copa Airlines implemented a rigorous maintenance plan to protect them from the environment's effects. This plan included periodical revisions, operations and protection of all vital systems for aircraft function. Some of the tasks performed included:

  • Engine ignition tests and oil check.
  • Fuel systems checkups.
  • Guarantee the operation of hydraulic and electrical systems.
  • Guarantee the operation of the auxiliary power unit.
  • Check tire pressure and condition.

During this time, all recommended manufacturer and aviation authorities maintenance tasks designed for aircraft performance were completed.

Our pilots' training

What training did the pilots receive for the safe return of the 737 MAX-9?

All airline pilots who operate the MAX fleet model must complete Boeing's complementary training, endorsed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and in our case, the Civil Aviation Authority of Panama (AAC).

Our pilots have been trained exceeding the minimum required training established by the authorities in each phase of this process, as we have done since we started operating the MAX fleet.

The mandatory requirements by the authorities for the safe return of the MAX are the following:

  • Computer Based Training (CBT): Authorities require one hour and thirty minutes per pilot. Copa Airlines requires seven hours and thirty minutes per pilot.
  • Simulator training: Authorities require two hours of simulator per pilot crew, while Copa Airlines requires four hours.
  • Test flights: Authorities require one test flight per aircraft and Copa Airlines performs a minimum of three for each one.
  • Training flights: Despite not being required by the authorities, all of our pilots must perform at least one operational training flight with a route instructor, to become familiar with the aircraft.

Options for our customers that will fly on a 737 MAX-9

How do I know if I am going to flight on a 737 MAX-9?

  • When purchasing your tickets in our online channels, you will be able to see the type of aircraft that will operate your flight.
  • When purchasing your ticket through our Call Center or in any our sales offices, or travel agency, you will be informed that you will fly on a 737 MAX-9 aircraft.
  • At copa.com, when you search in the Flight Information section, Itineraries category, you will find relevant information for your trip, including the type of aircraft performing the flight. The category 737-900 corresponds to 737 MAX-9