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Boeing Max Is Back on US Route

Plane was grounded last year after two crashes
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 29, 2020 2:36 PM CST
Boeing Max Is Back on US Route
An American Airlines Boeing 737 Max sits at a maintenance facility in Tulsa earlier this month.   (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

(Newser) – American Airlines flew a Boeing 737 Max with paying passengers from Miami to New York on Tuesday, the plane's first commercial flight in US skies since it was grounded after two deadly crashes. American Flight 718 carried about 100 passengers, according to an airline spokeswoman, and landed Tuesday afternoon at LaGuardia Airport. Last month, the Federal Aviation Administration approved Boeing's changes to an automated flight-control system implicated in crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people in all. In both crashes, the system pushed the nose down repeatedly based on faulty sensor readings, and pilots were unable to regain control. The FAA cleared the way for US airlines to resume using the plane, the AP reports, if certain changes are made and pilots are provided with additional training, including time in a flight simulator. The plane was grounded worldwide in March 2019.

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Brazil's Gol airlines operated the first passenger flight with a revamped Max on Dec. 9. Since then, Gol and Aeromexico have operated about 600 Max flights total, according to tracking service Flightradar24 and aviation-data firm Cirium. American plans one round trip a day between Miami and New York through Jan. 4 before putting the plane on more routes. United Airlines plans to resume Max flights in February, and Southwest Airlines expects to in March. All three airlines say they will let customers change flights if they are uncomfortable flying on the Max. Some relatives of people who died in the second crash, a Max operated by Ethiopian Airlines, contend that the plane is still unsafe. "It is infuriating that American Airlines is in effect rewarding Boeing for the corrupt and catastrophic process that led to the Max," Yalena Lopez-Lewis, whose husband died in the crash, said in a statement.

(Read more Boeing stories.)

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