American Airlines is the third airline in the world to restart commercial flights with the 737 MAX after 20 months of ban. The U.S. carrier scheduled flight AA 718, between New York (La Guardia) and Miami, to operate the Boeing jet on Tuesday.
Before American, Gol and Aeromexico reintroduced the aircraft into service after approval by the Brazilian and Mexican civil aviation authorities. In the US, the 737 MAX received its Airworthiness Directive in November, however, customers of the model in the country preferred to wait a few weeks before returning to use it on their flight network.
United Airlines, for example, should only fly the 737 MAX again in February, while Southwest Airlines, the largest customer of the aircraft in the world, intends to reintroduce the jet into service only in March.
With 31 jets in its fleet, American Airlines is one of the largest customers of the 737 MAX, with which it made international flights before the pandemic. Gol and Aeromexico, in turn, have only seven and six planes received, but they represent an important part of their fleets.
No apparent rejection
The return of 737 MAX flights at American sheds light on the risk of rejection by passengers. For almost two years, the aircraft was the target of negative news that questioned its safety after two fatal accidents that killed 346 people.
But, apparently, most passengers have not been concerned about this issue. According to the British newspaper The Telegraph, there were 100 reservations on American’s first flight on Tuesday, a reasonable number of people.
Another finding that the Boeing plane may not suffer from customer suspicions is the result of a Reuters poll that showed that only 39% of respondents said they knew about the 737 MAX accidents, compared with 50% in a similar survey conducted in May 2019.