As Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) feverishly work together to get the 737 MAX line re-certified, American Airlines has taken a very hopeful stance regarding the situation.
In their latest update, they say: “American Airlines anticipates that the impending software updates to the Boeing 737 MAX will lead to re-certification of the aircraft later this year and resumption of commercial service in January 2020. We are in continuous contact with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Department of Transportation (DOT).”
While foreign safety administrations such as the EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) want to conduct their own independent tests on the MAX, Boeing has been working with relevant regulators in the hopes of being able to reintroduce the aircraft into service by the end of this year.
Boeing’s CEO, Dennis Muilenburg, said that the aircraft manufacturer has conducted over 700 test flights in the MAX, and is “very confident in that software solution” and that the company is “marching through the final steps on certifying that, so that everybody’s confident in the safety of the airplane”.
Even if Boeing does get the all clear in November, American wouldn’t be able to just gas up their parked MAXs and start flying. Besides the obvious software updates that would need to be installed, the maintenance teams would have to complete the thorough process of reconditioning its fleet of MAX 8s before they can resume active service.
The airline predicts that the first MAX will fly on January 16, 2020, and will add additional units throughout January into February. In the mean time, passengers who initially booked a MAX up to January 6, 2020 will be flown on a 737-800 with the same cabin configuration, while those traveling between January 7 through 15 will be accommodated on either a Boeing 737-800 or similar Airbus model.
The airline has already taken delivery of 24 MAX 8s, with 10 more still parked up at the Boeing factory in Renton awaiting delivery.