MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It’s been quite the build-up to what should be an otherwise routine flight at Miami International Airport.
For the first time since March 2019, paying passengers flew in the U.S. on a Boeing 737 MAX.
The government grounded the jets last year after two deadly crashes overseas. Last month, U.S. safety officials approved changes Boeing has made to a flight-control system on the plane.
“American has had the aircraft in its fleet for a number of months. Now that it’s been recertified and we’re confident that safety has been of the utmost concern, the aircraft is ready to go,” Robert Isom, President of American Airlines.
Tuesday morning, an American Airlines flight utilizing a 737 MAX took off from Miami bound for New York’s Laguardia Airport.
“With the 737 MAX, this is an aircraft that’s been more highly scrutinized than any ever before. We’re very confident that this aircraft is the safest in the skies,” said Isom.
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American said they have put in place rigorous processes to ensure that every plane in the air is safe and their pilots, flight attendants, and team members are confident in the return of the 737 MAX.
Chris Hurrell is the 737 MAX fleet captain for American Airlines.
“This aircraft itself has been evaluated on the world stage, with worldwide regulators as well as the FAA. They’ve gone through the flight control system and really look at every different aspect of it to make sure that they covered all their bases when they returned it to service,” said Hurrell.
The fuel-efficient 737 MAX holds up to 172 people.
Currently, American Airlines has 24 of the MAXs in service with more expected by the end of this year into the next.
Fourteen hundred pilots, so far, have undergone rigorous training.
The airline made sure to tell passengers who were flying the 737 MAX that they would be on one.
Hurrell said it’s important for passengers to feel that it’s safe to get on board the 737 MAX again.
“They do a lot of checks before they ever start, so I think that everyone should feel confident that if our pilots and flight attendants are getting on these planes and flying them, then they should feel comfortable with that as well,” said Hurrell.
Passengers booked on a 737 MAX will be offered a chance to rebook free of charge if they did not feel comfortable. Customers may also cancel their trip and receive travel credits redeemable with American Airlines.