American Airlines Certain That 737 MAX Will Fly By September

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It’s been almost a month since we wrote about how American Airlines is including the 737 MAX aircraft in its September schedule. Things haven’t seemed to change, and the airline’s CEO, Doug Parker, seems certain that things will go according to schedule…

American Airlines currently has 24 737 MAX 8 jets with 76 on order. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

CEO remarks

According to aviation site View from the Wing, American Airlines CEO Doug Parker was asked about the timeline for bringing the Boeing 737 MAX back into service. This took place at an employee question and answer forum and here are some of his remarks from the event:

“What I understand is there is an absolute software fix that is this close to being certified, but they’ve been saying that for awhile. I think, as much as anything now, it may be politics as much as true certification and kind of safety issue…I don’t think the FAA wants to be alone in doing this and may want some other countries to come along. But there absolutely is a fix. We, at American, are selling tickets on 737s. We’re selling it for September 4th; we wouldn’t be selling it if we didn’t think it would be flying by then.”

The remarks indicate that Parker believes the lengthy recertification process is due to politics more than any other issues. Could he be right?

The FAA

As reported in a previous article, the worldwide grounding of 737 MAX aircraft saw a shift in regulatory authority, with China becoming the first country to ask domestic airlines to ground their MAX fleets.

It has been more common for national aviation agencies to follow the lead of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). However, after China, other countries followed suit. This left the FAA as one of the last authorities to ground it’s airlines’ fleets.

Parker’s comments allude to the fact that the FAA might need to regain some credibility. It was slow to act, while the agencies of other countries made their own decisions. Cooperating with other agencies will earn additional public trust in its decision to allow the 737 MAX to fly again.

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Other agencies include:

  • The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)
  • Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA)
  • The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)
  • and the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC)
The airline has scheduled flights to Medellin, Colombia and St. Maarten in September. Photo: Flickr user Prayitno

With more than 35 airlines across the globe operating 737 MAX aircraft, they are all certainly eager to have their respective aviation authorities lift the ban.

Conclusion

We know that the carrier plans to fly executives around on the aircraft before reintroducing it to service. American Airlines is hoping that by having some of the airline’s executives on board before the general public, it will inspire passengers to fly the aircraft. It seems like a wise move and a good public relations activity. Let’s hope it works!

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The FAA has authority over US airspace. Other countries will also need to approve the 737MAX to fly over their space as well. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

In the end, Parker was as realistic as much as he was optimistic. He said,

“If we’re not much more certain than we are today that … it’s going to be ready on September 4th, you may see us push it back another month … sometime early- to mid-July.”

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