At the end of December, American Airlines will resume scheduled passenger flights with the 737 MAX, following the plane being “ungrounded” by the FAA. Ahead of that, the airline is trying to convince both employees and customers that the plane is safe to fly. The first major step towards that was taken last night.
American executives fly the 737 MAX
Last night, a Boeing 737 MAX operated a 57-minute flight from Tulsa to Dallas, with the flight number AA9750. This wasn’t a regularly scheduled flight, but it did have some guests onboard.
Specifically, American Airlines executives were onboard, including Doug Parker (CEO) and his wife, as well as Robert Isom (President).
The 737 MAX that operated the flight (N308RD) was delivered to American in December 2017. Yesterday it first operated a roughly two hour test flight to & from Tulsa, which was the first flight that the plane had taken since it was grounded in March 2019. That was followed by the flight to Dallas.
Parker shared pictures of the flight on his Instagram, with the following caption:
For 20 months, Boeing 737 MAX aircraft around the world have been grounded. Our hearts go out to the families of the victims whose lives have been lost, and we will never forget the tragedy that changed their lives forever.
In our industry, safety comes above all else. When that safety is in question, we band together to improve. Now, after the most extensive safety review in commercial aviation history, the 737 MAX has been recertified.
Today, @AmericanAir took our first 737 MAX aircraft back up in the air. In partnership with @AlliedPilots, @APFAUnity, @Boeing, @FAA, our Tech Ops experts and countless others, teams have worked diligently to prepare the aircraft to safely return to service.
I’ve long said that when American Airlines pilots – who are the best in the business – are comfortable and confident in flying the MAX, so am I. So today, along with my wife Gwen, American’s President Robert Isom and many others, we boarded the MAX at our Tulsa maintenance base with the utmost peace of mind.
Customers will see the MAX slowly phased into service starting at the end of December with a daily roundtrip from Miami. Until then, many thanks to American’s pilots, flight attendants, Tech Ops team and safety experts who worked tirelessly to get this right for the flying public.
American Airlines executives flying on the 737 MAX comes ahead of the company offering five 737 MAX flights to nowhere over the coming weeks for employees, intended to boost confidence in the plane before customers are put on it.
Kudos to Parker & Isom for this
As I’ve said before, I’d personally feel comfortable flying the 737 MAX, so I don’t consider it a great sign of bravery to get on the plane (arguably it’s much braver to fly in the Oasis configuration, rather than the 737 MAX as such). 😉 That being said, to my knowledge Parker is the first major industry CEO to “publicly” fly the 737 MAX in this way, and that’s commendable, I think.
Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe Boeing’s CEO has even flown the 737 MAX (let alone with his family) since it was announced the plane was certified again.
While I do think this is a nice gesture, to me these types of flights are ultimately pretty meaningless. The safety of the 737 MAX will be determined by the lack of incidents across thousands of flights and years, rather than any airline being able to operate a few flights and saying “see, we landed safely!”
But as humans we’re not always rational, and I know some people do feel comforted when they see something like this happen successfully.
American Airlines’ CEO flew on a 737 MAX last night from Tulsa to Dallas. This comes ahead of the airline operating several 737 MAX flights for employees, and then reintroducing the 737 MAX into regularly scheduled service as of December 29.