As if air travel isn’t challenging enough in 2020, American Airlines flyers may soon find a rather unwelcome surprise at their boarding gate, even that surprise is now the most safety tested plane in the history of planes.
Pending final FAA recertification, American Airlines plans to reinstate its fleet of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft before the end of 2020, and has already named a first route and start date. Here’s where to expect the 737 MAX, when, and why it might not be such a bad thing after all.
American Airlines 737 MAX Flights
American Airlines plans to fly the 737 MAX on a daily direct flight between New York and Miami, as soon as December 29th, with flights on sale next week. The airline told CNN it will inform customers that they’d be flying on a 737-MAX, which is a step better than other airlines, which have attempted to hide any MAX branding, by repainting the planes.
Pending a successful week of testing from the 29th to January 4th, American would then roll the 737 MAX out to wider destinations across its domestic US route network. Airlines love the MAX for its fuel efficiencies thanks to new engines which save on costs and the ability to pack more passengers in.
737 MAX Re-certification
The Boeing 737 MAX was involved in two separate, unspeakably horrific crashes killing over 300 passengers, which are now believed to have been caused at least in part by issues surrounding faulty new sensors which had not been properly disclosed to pilots flying the relatively new aircraft type.
After aviation governing bodies around the globe grounded the Boeing 737 MAX and prompted inquiries, inadequacies in the cushy relationship between regulator FAA and the manufacturer, Boeing, were found. This week the European air safety group EASA gave the MAX a preliminary clearance to return to European skies as well.
Despite the horrific track record and incalculable loss of life, the plane is now one of the most tested and scrutinized aircraft in modern history, which means it may be one of the safest planes in the skies, when it returns. That doesn’t mean anyone should feel any better about it though.
It’s unclear how American plans to tell passengers they’ll be flying on the aircraft type, but American should be commended, if true, for the disclosure. American currently allows passengers to swap flights on the day for free in response to covid-19, so any passenger who wishes to change flights should be able to without fee.