Senior Airline Executives Vow to Fly on Boeing 737 Max Planes to Prove Their Safety to Passengers
When the controversial aircraft is cleared, airline officials will take demonstration flights.
Airlines plan to conduct their own tests on the ill-fated Boeing 737 MAX once federal regulators certify the plane is safe to resume service, according to reports.
Carriers who fly the 737 MAX — American Airlines, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines all fly the planes in the U.S. — plan to conduct demonstration flights with senior company officials and no commercial passengers on board to show customers it is safe to fly, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Boeing hopes regulators will approve the software fixes as well as new pilot training plans in the coming weeks.
“We look forward to supporting our airline customers, their pilots and flight attendants as the MAX returns to commercial service,” a Boeing spokesman told the WSJ. “Restoring the trust of the traveling public in the safety of the 737 MAX once it’s recertified is our top priority.”
The 737 MAX planes have been grounded around the world since mid-March following a pair of fatal crashes that killed 346 people. In October 2018, a Lion Air jet crashed into the Java Sea off Indonesia, killing all 189 people on board. And then in March, an Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed, killing 157 people.
American Airlines expects to start flying the 737 MAX jets by Jan. 16, and Southwest Airlines has pulled the planes through at least Feb. 8, according to both airlines. United Airlines has taken the jets off their schedule through January as well, according to Fox Business.
European regulators are planning to conduct their own test flights that are expected to be even more detailed, potentially delaying the return of the 737 MAX at airports across the pond by several weeks, the WSJ reported.
Meanwhile, a group representing American Airlines flight attendants sent a letter to Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg last week requesting a say in determining if the planes are safe to fly again, Fox Business reported. And the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association filed a lawsuit against Boeing for allegedly lying about the safety of the jets, asking for $100 million.
While it’s not clear exactly when the jets will be approved to resume service, once they’re in the air again, it will undoubtedly have an impact on consumers. In fact, analysts predict it could cause a drastic reduction in airfare prices.