Boeing 737 Max returns

This item appears on page 28 of the February 2021 issue.

With an American Airlines (AA) flight from Miami International Airport to New York’s LaGuardia on Dec. 29, 2020, the Boeing 737 Max passenger jet returned to service in the US after nearly two years of being grounded. The first 737 Max flight since March 2019 occurred in Brazil on Dec. 9.

The 737 Max was grounded by air authorities around the world in March 2019 after a total of 346 people were killed in two crashes, both blamed on faulty software based on incorrect technical assumptions. Specifically, a flight control system that Boeing had installed — but did not mention in their instruction manuals — had a tendency to force the nose down during takeoffs. The 737 Max was recertified by the FAA in November 2020 after software fixes.

On AA, passengers will be given notification beforehand that their flight will be on a 737 Max. United and Southwest plan on reintroducing 737 Maxes into their fleets in 2021 but have not said whether they will warn passengers.