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SilkAir's 737 Max fleet to be parked in Australia

Singapore

SINGAPORE Airlines Ltd's SilkAir has relocated the first of its six Boeing Co 737 Max aircraft to central Australia for storage, as the global grounding of the jet continues following two deadly crashes within the past 12 months.

Boeing pilots flew the aircraft to Alice Springs on Monday, Singapore Airlines said in an e-mailed statement. The Australian government's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) said on Friday that SilkAir would begin transferring its planes on Monday.

The relocation "has been facilitated with permission from civil aviation authorities in Australia, Indonesia and Singapore," the airline said. "The remaining five aircraft will be progressively relocated," it said, without providing details on timing.

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CASA spokesman Peter Gibson said on Friday that the aircraft will be flown by experienced Boeing pilots using a "flight profile which ensures there can be no activation of MCAS", referring to the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System feature linked to the crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people. The pilots received training in case an MCAS-related event occurs, he said.

It is still unclear when the 737 Max will resume scheduled flights because investigations by various authorities around the world are ongoing.

CASA said it is following flight profiles for ferrying the aircraft in the US, Canada and Europe. In one California facility, the cost of storage runs to about US$2,000 a month for a plane, according to an industry veteran. BLOOMBERG