UPDATED 12:55 PM PT – Wednesday, December 30, 2020
After 20 months stuck on the ground, the updated Boeing 737 MAX took flight in the U.S. for the first time.
On Tuesday, American Airlines President Robert Isom announced the first flight was on the runway and prepped for takeoff at Miami International Airport.
“So, from our maintenance team, from our pilots, from the work with the FAA, from the work with our Union Safety Committees, we’re confident that the aircraft is ready to go,” Isom said. “And we’re looking forward to the flight today.”
The flight successfully landed at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, using new software upgrades and safeguards that were added to the control system in order to ensure a safe flight.
“Yes, so, there were definitely software additions made for the MCAs, the flight controls through the FCC or the flight control computer,” 737 MAX Fleet Captain Chris Hurrell noted. “But there were also airworthiness directives that came out for a wire bundle separation.”
Despite the precautions, a Reuters/Ipsos poll shows that more than half of passengers are wary of taking the jet, especially when reminded of two fatal crashes that led to the grounding.
“Everybody at American airlines, our hearts go out to those that were involved in the incidents,” American Airlines President Robert Isom stated. “This is an opportunity for us to learn from those incidents and make sure aviation is safe and safer than it’s ever been before.”
While Boeing announced it is ready to re-deploy its fleet, a number of airlines are still canceling flights in the wake of the coronavirus, which leaves the date of the full fleet’s return up in the air.