December 29, 2020
Boeing 737 MAX to return to US skies with American flight
American Airlines passengers are set to fly Tuesday on the first US commercial flight on a Boeing 737 MAX since the aircraft was allowed to return to service after a nearly two-year absence.
The top-selling aircraft has been grounded worldwide since March 2019 following two crashes that killed 346 people.
The aerospace giant since then has worked with regulators to address the technical issues and improve pilot training.
American's flight 718 will fly about 100 passengers from Miami to New York's La Guardia airport, departing at 1532 GMT and due to land around 1730 GMT, the airline told AFP in an email Tuesday.
The return flight, with nearly every seat sold, is scheduled to depart New York at 1930 GMT, according to American.
The aircraft already had its first commercial flight on December 9 with a domestic trip by Brazil's budget carrier Gol, and United Airlines is due to return the MAX to its US fleet with flights on February 11.
The return comes after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in late November cleared the jet to fly again following upgrades to its software and new pilot training protocols.
The MAX crisis caused waves of order cancelations for Boeing, and the collapse in travel caused by the coronavirus pandemic hurt the company further.
However the company has received new orders in recent weeks, indicating its fortunes may be reversing.
But the return has not been entirely smooth. Families of the crash victims continue to oppose allowing the aircraft to fly, saying it is unsafe.
An Air Canada MAX flying last week from Arizona to Montreal with three crew members on board experienced an engine problem that forced it to land in Tucson.
© 2020 AFP