With more countries banning the 737 MAX 8 aircraft every moment amid rising concerns about its safety, it’s no wonder that many who work onboard these aircraft are worried about their welfare too.
As such, several unions in the US have negotiated to allow their members to refuse to work on the 737 MAX 8 without penalty.
“If you feel it is unsafe to work the 737 MAX, you will not be forced to fly it…” – Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) in a statement to their members.
What are the details?
A few days ago, the world reeled in shock as a 737 MAX 8 experienced hull loss, resulting in fatalities of all passengers and crew on board. This was oddly similar to another crash six months before, with the same plane going down with all hands.
The FAA was quick to issue a statement that the aircraft is safe and that they can keep flying in America. It can be seen here on Twitter:
— The FAA (@FAANews) March 11, 2019
But many were not so convinced, with countries like China, Indonesia, Singapore, Australia, and Ethiopia grounding the plane. In fact, an Air Fiji plane that fellow Simple Flying writer Jay flew on (you can read his review here, and yes, he does describe something odd with the takeoff) has been grounded in Sydney, despite not being banned back in the South Pacific country.
Unfortunately, the caution regarding the plane has made its way back home to the United States, with many workers in the airline industry worried about working onboard a possibly faulty aircraft.
Who flies the 737 MAX 8 in the United States?
Two of the US ‘big three’ carriers use the Boeing 737 MAX 8: American Airlines with 26 aircraft and Southwest, the world’s largest operator, with 34 planes in total. United have no MAX 8’s, but instead have 16 of the larger 737 MAX 9 aircraft. At this time, there is no confirmation that anything is wrong with these aircraft, although investigations are onoging.
American Airlines has issued a statement supporting the aircraft, giving “full confidence in the aircraft and [their] crew members, who are the best and most experienced in the industry”.
The president of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA), Sara Nelson, raised her union’s concerns regarding the aircraft, “Crew and passengers are expressing concern about the 737 MAX 8 following a second crash, with similar characteristics to the Lion Air Flight 610 crash,”
The union has also taken the time to ask the FAA to formally investigate the 737 Max 8, to deem if its worthy of flying.
“It is vitally important that U.S. airlines work with Boeing, the FAA, and the NTSB to address concerns and take steps to ensure confidence for the traveling public and working crews,”