KEY POINTS

  • Boeing Max 737 has been grounded since March 2019
  • Boeing altered software and computers to prevent mishaps 
  • The aircraft may get flying approval as soon as November

American Airlines (AAL) is bringing back Boeing 737 Max to its fleet, and the carrier is working hard to convince passengers that it is safe to fly.

Boeing’s most famous aircraft, Max 737, have been grounded across the world since March 2019 after two deadly crashes killed 346 people.

The airline may offer tours and organize question-and-answer sessions with its pilots and mechanics department to reassure customers. This plan, still under discussion, was disclosed to American’s employees last week, CNN reported.

Alison Taylor, American’s chief customer officer, is quoted as saying in the report that only the professionals have the credibility to explain details regarding the model and its problems.

Aviation regulators across the world, including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), stopped the use of the plane which landed Boeing in a lot of trouble, parking hundreds of its 737 Max aircraft and pushing its stock down.

Since the grounding, Boeing has altered its software and computers to prevent future mishaps. FAA boss Steve Dickson piloted a 737 Max aircraft himself and was “comfortable” with it. This has helped Boeing's stock, which started inching upward.

The Max 737 models may now get flying approval as soon as November, following multiple modifications and test flights. But American believes passengers still need to be assuaged. For instance, if a person is flying on a Max airline, they will be notified in advance.

Apart from American, only Air Canada has included Max in its flight schedules. One daily round-trip from New York’s LaGuardia to Miami has been scheduled on Max planes by American between Dec. 29 and Jan. 4. Air Canada has Max flights scheduled from Dec. 28 connecting Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, and Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco and Palm Springs.

Southwest Airlines (LUV), which has its share of Max planes, is in no hurry to roll them out yet. “We have maintenance work to do to bring our own Max aircraft out for long-term storage and into an operational status,” Southwest CEO Gary Kelly told analysts last week.

The COVID-19 pandemic has roiled the airline industry as travel demand touched all-time lows after flying restrictions kicked in since March 2020.

The Boeing 737 MAX The Boeing 737 MAX has been grounded worldwide since 2019 following two deadly crashes. Photo: AFP / Jason Redmond