American Airlines to restart US commercial Boeing 737 Max flights

FAA clears Boeing 737 Max to fly again after deadly crashes

The Federal Aviation Administration has rescinded its grounding order for Boeing’s 737 Max jet; FOX Business Grady Trimble with more.

American Airlines is set to restart U.S. Boeing 737 Max commercial flights on Tuesday, another milestone for the U.S. planemaker as it tries to move past its deepest crisis in its 104-year history.

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The Max was grounded in March 2019 for 20 months after two fatal crashes in five months killed 346 people. The grounding was lifted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last month after Boeing agreed to software upgrades and new safeguards on a key flight control system linked to both fatal crashes.

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American’s first flight between Miami and New York’s LaGuardia set for Tuesday morning follows flight control updates, maintenance work, fresh pilot training and town hall meetings with flight crews to walk them through Boeing’s changes and address concerns.

American Airlines Group Inc. Boeing Co. 737 Max planes sit parked outside of a maintenance hangar at Tulsa International Airport (TUL) in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on May 14, 2019. (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“We would have never brought this back if the pilots and flight attendants didn’t feel comfortable,” American’s Chief Operating Officer David Seymour said at a Dec. 2 737 Max media event.

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American is the third carrier globally to resume flights following Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes and Grupo Aeromexico earlier this month. Between those two airlines, the updated 737 Max has flown about 250 commercial flights, according to Cirium, the aviation data firm.

American Airlines currently has 31 737 Max aircraft after taking delivery of seven more jets since the FAA lifted its safety ban, including one on Monday and plans to gradually reintroduces the plane to its fleet.

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A Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released Monday found that Americans are less familiar with the two fatal 737 Max crashes, but if made aware of those disasters, more than half say they would probably avoid the aircraft.

The Max’s return comes at a time when COVID-19 has thrust the industry into its worst crisis, with airlines parking hundreds of jets as demand hovers around 30% of 2019 levels.

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When the 737 Max was grounded, U.S. airlines canceled flights because they lacked aircraft to meet demand, adding to Boeing’s financial liability.

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