American Airlines, one of the world’s largest airlines, plans to fly its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft from the end of December. This is in line with comments from some regulators that the plane will be ready to fly before the end of the year.
It plans 737 MAX flights starting in December
American Airlines plans to start flights of the 737 MAX between Miami and New York starting December 29, according to a Reuters report. The 737 MAX previously flew between New York and Miami, so this is not a new route for the MAX. American Airlines has also previously flown a 737 MAX to Latin America from Miami.
The 737 Max does well with American Airlines outside Miami. While it can make some great short trips, the plane is also economical on longer routes, such as Quito, Cancun, Antigua, and even some long-distance intercontinental routes like Los Angeles.
Amid a combination of closed borders, and the uncertainty over whether all countries will raise the global grounding of the MAX simultaneously, it makes sense then, that the US would only place the aircraft on one domestic route as of now. It gives the United States time to get a few planes ready for flight, and if recertification is not done in time, America only needs to change a small portion of its schedule. However, returning MAX to commercial service with American in December is in line with President Robert Isom’s comments in July.
Regulators have indicated, in the past few months, that the 737 MAX is on its way to re-certification in the coming months. The Regulatory Director for Europe stated that it is satisfied with the 737 MAX changes. Steve Dickson, head of the Federal Aviation Administration, recently piloted the MAX himself, and the plane appears to be entering the home extension before recertification.
Flying the MAX from the end of December means the aircraft must be re-certified by mid-November or early December, but that will be tight. After the aircraft is re-certified, American and Boeing will need to work on updating the MAX with any and all upgrades the aircraft requires, and American pilots will need to undergo special training on the 737 MAX before heading into the cockpit.
Boeing is unable to deliver any 737 MAX aircraft due to continuous global grounding. Instead, aircraft due in America are currently on hold until they can be re-certified, repaired and delivered.
Boeing 737 Max American aircraft
The 737 Max seats 172 passengers with 16 first-class seats in reclining-style, 30 economy seats with extra legroom, and 126 seats in standard economy class. From a configuration point of view, this is in line with the American Boeing 737-800 that is currently undergoing retrofits. This creates additional efficiencies within the airline’s fleet, and in the event of a necessary replacement between New York and Miami, the 737-800 can take over the MAX mission without forcing the Americans to collide with passengers.
American Airlines continues to plan ahead with the 737 MAX in its fleet. With 24 aircraft already delivered and 76 orders, the airline’s distraction is difficult and counter-intuitive. The 737 MAX will allow American Airlines to continue to modernize its fleet and open up new opportunities.
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