On Tuesday, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that it has issued its first airworthiness certificate for a Boeing 737 MAX built since March 2019. With the jet now recertified to fly in the United States, all the aircraft that have been manufactured by Boeing must undergo a series of software changes before returning to service.
Dispatching inspectors to recertify MAX jets
It was back on November 18th that the FAA finally lifted its 20-month-old grounding order on the 737 MAX. It has been a long journey up until this point. Hearings before US Senate and Congress, months of investigation and system redevelopment, and then extensive test flights have taken place to ensure the aircraft is safe to fly once again. All of this, of course, was triggered after two fatal crashes in October 2018 and March 2019 that killed 346 people.
For the aircraft to fly passengers again, the FAA requires a series of software changes along with new pilot training requirements.
According to The Globe and Mail, Boeing has built around 450 737 MAX airplanes since 2019 that need approval by the FAA before they can officially be delivered to airlines.
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“We expect to have a sufficient number of inspectors on hand to meet Boeing’s planned delivery schedule for the foreseeable future. We’ll defer to Boeing to discuss the company’s manufacturing and delivery plans,” – FAA Spokesperson via The Globe and Mail
American Airlines moving ahead with MAX reintegration
It looks like American Airlines will be among the first airlines to operate its 737 MAXs again as part of regular passenger service.
It was just last week that the FAA approved the carrier’s training plan for pilots to resume 737 MAX flights. With its plan to reintroduce the MAX on December 29th, the airline has been busy completing the required tests and software upgrades to its 24 parked planes.
Leading up to the highly-anticipated return, the carrier is planning to perform five flights with the plane exclusively for its employees.
These flights will depart from the airline’s hubs at Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), New York LaGuardia (LGA), and Miami (MIA) and will return to their airport of origin. The first flight will leave Dallas on December 3rd and will be followed by a trip departing Miami on December 8th. There will be two flights from New York on December 9th and 15th and a final flight from Miami on December 17th.
American Airlines will be the first to resume its MAX service. Which airline do you think will be next? United Airlines says MAX flights will resume in early 2021. Could Southwest beat it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.