April 1 (Reuters) - Fiji Airways said on Thursday it had received approval from its national aviation regulator to return its Boeing Co BA.N 737 MAX planes to service after a two-year grounding following two deadly crashes.
The airline is the first operator in the Asia-Pacific region to confirm that its national regulator will allow flights to resume following additional crew training, including in the carrier's 737 MAX flight simulator.
Australia and Japan had already approved the return of the 737 MAX and New Zealand on a case by case basis, but those countries do not have locally-based operators.
"We will continue to work with our regulators to bring the MAX aircraft into service, albeit for the limited number of freight and repatriation flights we currently operate," Fiji Airways Chief Executive Andre Viljeon said in a statement.
Before the 737 MAX grounding due to crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, Fiji Airways had operated the planes on flights to Australia and New Zealand. The Fijian carrier had two 737 MAX jets delivered before the grounding and three more are on order.
(Reporting by Jamie Freed in Sydney; Editing by Kim Coghill)
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