American Airlines CEO flies on the 737 MAX to prove its safety
PR move ahead of plane’s return.
American Airlines flew its staff on Wednesday, including CEO Doug Parker, and reporters on its Boeing 737 MAX planes to boost confidence before the plane’s return.
The airline hopes its first public demonstration flight will prove to passengers that the aircraft is now safe, after two fatal crashes in 2018 led to a worldwide grounding of the aircraft.
Boeing has since rewritten the plane’s software, assuring the glitch is now fixed.
The Federal Aviation Administration lifted its ban on the planes on November 18, clearing airlines to start flying the jets again in the US.
Wednesday’s PR flight from Dallas, Texas, to Tulsa, Oklahoma lasted only 45-minutes.
American Airlines is set to become the first US carrier to resume service using the aircraft with flights between Miami and New York’s LaGuardia Airport starting on December 29.
“You don’t build confidence when the plane sits on the ground,” American Airlines’ COO David Seymour told CNBC at the Tulsa base on Wednesday.
“You build confidence when it’s out there flying and it’s doing the job it’s intended to do.”
Some family members of passengers killed in the crashes reportedly dismissed American’s media event as a publicity stunt.
“The promotional flight was arranged by the American Airlines marketing team simply because the company made the mistake of buying more Max aircraft than almost any other airline,” Michael Stumo, whose daughter Samya Stumo was killed on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, said in a statement.