Aerolineas Argentinas 737 MAX 8, LV-GVD (c/n 64207/6661), lands on Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) runway 31 on 21Jul18. (Phil Perry Photo)
Aerolineas Argentinas placed a second 737 MAX 8 (of five in its fleet) back into service on 20Jul21. The aircraft had been out of service since the Argentinean national airline removed its 737 MAX fleet from service when all MAX's worldwide were grounded in March 2019 in the wake of the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines' MAX accidents in October 2018 and March 2019, respectively.
The airline restarted regularly-scheduled domestic flights on 22Oct20, putting its E190, 737-700 and 737-800 fleets back into service on these routes but the 737 MAX 8 was still suffering from the worldwide grounding at that point, delaying its return to service with Aerolineas until 23Mar21, some three months after the aircraft type was recertified for commercial flying once again.
Aerolineas has opted to put its MAX 8 fleet back into service slowly, partly because frequencies across its route network have not reached pre-COVID levels and also presumably to slowly train its crews on the various modifications to the MAX, especially the MCAS software, which was the culprit in the crashes leading to the grounding of the aircraft in early 2019.
LV-GVD and LV-HKU (the first MAX to be reactivated, back in March) are only flying Argentine domestic routes for now, expecting to be eventually redeployed on some of the regional routes the type operated on prior to the grounding, such as to Punta Cana (PUJ), Bogota (BOG), Rio de Janeiro Galeao (GIG) and Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU).
The disposition of the three other 737 MAX 8's in Aerolineas fleet (with six more scheduled for future delivery) is as follows:
* LV-GVE (c/n 64208/6717) - Parked at Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE)
* LV-HKV (c/n 44294/6807) - Parked at Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP)
* LV-HKW (c/n 44296/6926) - Parked at Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE)