Boeing’s 737 Max Gets FAA Approval to Fly Again

The controversial aircraft could return to the skies as early as late December

Boeing 737 Max
A worker stands under a Boeing 737 Max airplane as it sits parked at the company's Renton production facility on November 13, 2020 in Renton, Washington. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)
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Back in March 2019, Boeing’s 737 Max planes were grounded after two crashes that killed a total of 346 people. But as CNN reports, after 20 months of working to correct the flaw that caused those crashes, the fleet of jets has been approved by the FAA to return to the skies.

After it was discovered that a safety feature meant to prevent the plane from climbing too quickly and stalling was actually forcing the nose of the aircraft down, the process of correcting it reportedly cost Boeing more than $20 billion. The FAA noted that the new approval is only the first step in getting the planes up and running. As CNN notes, “The FAA said in a statement before any of the planes can be flown with passengers again, the necessary changes to the 737 Max identified in the approval process must be installed, the FAA must inspect the individual planes. The pilots must also complete additional training.”

How long exactly that will take varies depending on the airline. American Airlines has added the plane to its schedule for some flights beginning in late December and early January, but Southwest isn’t expected to start flying the 737 Max again until spring 2021.

Despite the FAA approval, families of the crash victims are skeptical, and in a press conference on Tuesday, they insisted that a third sensor should have been added to determine if the plane is in danger of stalling.

“The plane is inherently unstable and it is unairworthy without its software,” Michael Stumo, whose daughter died in the March 2019 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane, said. “They haven’t fixed it so far. The flying public should avoid the Max in the future. Change your flight.”

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