Airlines scour the world for scarce 737 MAX simulators

A shortage in training facilities for Boeing's 737 MAX aircraft is seeing airlines scrambling as far afield as Fiji, Iceland and Panama for suitable simulators.

It's the latest in a long line of setbacks for the troubled 737 model - and comes after its makers said it is unlikely to return to the skies until the middle of 2020.

The 737 MAX has been grounded for almost a year, after 2 fatal crashes and cannot return to service until regulators approve software changes and training plans.

This has created big problems for Boeing because of a shortage in simulators that replicate this latest model.

There are around 3 dozen of the up to date simulators in operation, but thousands of pilots are in need of time at the controls.

Earlier this month Boeing recommended the need for simulator use, but at the time didn't specify what type,

On Tuesday (January 21) it told Reuters it was changing that policy to say a 737 MAX simulator should be used.

Reuters also reported this week that Boeing was debating borrowing a further $10 billion or possibly more to cover costs incurred by the MAX project.

It was then dealt another blow on Wednesday (January 22), when one of its main rivals Airbus saw its shares soar to record highs and were up 1.5% by mid-morning.

One possible positive on Boeing's horizon could be a maiden test flight of its delayed 777X airplane this week.

Boeing themselves haven't confirmed the test, but sources have told Reuters that weather permitting, a first outing for its largest twin-engine model could be about to take off.