American Airlines has operated its first commercial 737 MAX flight nearly two years after the aircraft was grounded.

The MAX 8 departed Miami at 10.40am on 29 December 2020 and landed later that day in New York. The aircraft has been flown back and forth between the two destinations twice.

Aircraft “checked from top to bottom”

Robert Isom, president of American Airlines said: “We’ve been engaged with the FAA, with Boeing, with everybody that’s associated with the aircraft to ensure that safety is held at the highest level. This aircraft has been checked out from top to bottom.”

American Airlines is the third carrier globally to resume commercial flights using the MAX, following Brazil’s Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes and Aeromexico. American Airlines has one of the largest 737 Max fleets in the USA which consisted of 24 planes at the time of the aircraft’s grounding in March 2019.

European Union Aviation Safety Agency to recertify plane in mid-January

The Federal Aviation Administration lifted its grounding order for the aircraft in November last year following guidance which required the implementation of a number of updates to the plane. The updates included improvements to the MCAS flight control system which was found to be a factor in two crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia which killed 346 people.

The European Union’s Aviation Safety Agency has not recertified the plane but has indicated that it expects to make its decision in mid-January.

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