American Airlines has said that it won’t make passengers fly on the Boeing 737 MAX if they don’t want to. The news was revealed in a letter from the airline following the aircraft’s ungrounding by the Federal Aviation Administration earlier today.
The Boeing 737 MAXs return to service has divided opinion on the internet since the aircraft was first grounded. While some say they will never step foot on the type, others are more inclined to trust the aircraft once more, especially if it gets a couple of years of trouble-free operation under its belt.
Today, six members of American Airlines’ senior management team sent out a letter to colleagues following the FAA’s ungrounding of the Boeing 737 MAX. Early on, it states,
“If our pilots, along with the APA, FAA, and our safety teams are confident that the aircraft is safe, we’re confident in its return to service.”
However, it then addresses the lack of confidence that many passengers will understandably have at first. The letter reads,
“If a customer doesn’t want to fly on the 737 MAX, they won’t have to. Our customers will be able to easily identify whether they are traveling on one… We’ll provide flexibility to ensure that they can be easily re-accommodated”
American Airlines isn’t the only airline that won’t make passengers fly on the 737 MAX. In March, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary told Simple Flying that he would likely offer refunds if passengers find they’re flying on a MAX and don’t want to.
American Airlines will resume scheduled Boeing 737 MAX services just before the new year on December 29th. Initially, the airline will operate only one round trip per day on the route between Miami and La Guardia.
Just under a week later, the airline will gradually start to phase in more 737 MAX flights from Miami, reaching 36 departures a day. However, before these scheduled flights, American Airlines will let staff members fly on the Boeing 737 MAX if they’re interested.
For American Airlines, returning the Boeing 737 MAX to service won’t be as easy as starting the engines and taking off. First, the airline will need to ensure that its pilots have completed the FAA mandated training, including simulator flights, before stepping back into the cockpit. American has 2,600 Boeing 73 pilots who will achieve this.
Additionally, the aircraft will need to be prepared for flight. This will include following the actions set out in the FAA’s airworthiness directive, including updating the aircraft’s software. While the FAA will oversee each aircraft, the airline’s technicians will also inspect every plane. The aircraft will then completed an ‘operational readiness flight’ before passengers are allowed to board.
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