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Today, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has signed an order to resume commercial flights of Boeing 737 MAX by the end of the year. Boeing will have to make specific software updates and implement the FAA requested training changes to return to the market.
The main focus of improvement has to be a stall-prevention system called MCAS, which in both crashes shoved down the jet’s nose as pilots lost navigation control.
The investigations triggered by the deadly accidents cost Boeing some $20 billion, but now it says it is ready for a relaunch. American Airlines plans to have their first flight on this U.S. planemaker’s best-selling jet on December 29th. Southwest Airlines, the largest Boeing 737 MAX operator globally, will follow the lead in Q2 of 2021. Earlier during the Aviation Week webinar, CEO of Southwest Gary Kelly admitted he felt enthusiastic about FAA lifting the ban:
“We are looking forward to it for a variety of reasons. It is a more cost-effective airplane to fly relative to especially our older -700s. It’s rumored that it’s going to be ungrounded this week so, fingers crossed. We’ve been here before, but as time has gone by, it’s closer and closer and closer, so I’m expecting the grounding to be pretty soon.”
Despite having around 200 aircraft at its disposal, Southwest will only bring Boeing 737 MAX back to service once all its pilots undergo training, according to Gary.
Jets like Boeing 737 MAX and its competitor Airbus A320 dominate international fleets and serve as a major source of industry profit. After all the obstacles and scrutiny, the fact that Boeing 737 MAX is getting back in business will open up a crucial pipeline of cash for the company and its suppliers.
The aircraft has been grounded for 20 months after two fatal disasters in Indonesia and Ethiopia, taking the lives of 346 people.