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Boeing Max returns to US skies with first passenger flight

Boeing American Max Flight
Posted at 10:10 AM, Dec 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-29 12:21:07-05

MIAMI (AP) — A Boeing 737 Max departed Miami International Airport with 100 passengers aboard Tuesday for the aircraft’s first U.S. commercial flight since faulty sensor readings contributed to two deadly crashes in 2019.

The American Airlines flight is scheduled to land at New York’s LaGuardia Airport around 1:30 p.m. Eastern, according to an airline spokeswoman.

The airline gave customers the chance to change flights if they were uncomfortable on the Max. Last month, the Federal Aviation Administration approved changes that Boeing made 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 first passenger flight with a revamped Max took place this month in Brazil. Brazil’s Gol airlines has since operated more than 540 flights and Aeromexico has operated more than 80 with Max planes, according to tracking service Flightradar24.

The Max was grounded worldwide in March 2019, days after the second crash. Reports by House and Senate committees faulted Boeing and the FAA for failures in the process of certifying the plane.

American plans to make one round trip a day between Miami and New York with the planes through Jan. 4 before putting the Max on more routes. United Airlines plans to resume flights with the Max in February, and Southwest Airlines plans to resume flights with the planes in March.