American Air Employees to Get Early Chance to Fly on 737 Max
(Bloomberg) -- American Airlines Group Inc. will offer employees five charter flights on the Boeing Co. 737 Max as the carrier tries to ease any concerns before the embattled jet returns to passenger flights in late December.
The planes to be used have undergone the updates required by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to end a long grounding, American said Monday. In granting approval for the Max charters, the regulator also authorized American to begin revised pilot training before changes to its flight manual take effect Dec. 22.
“We know that restoring our customers’ confidence in the 737 Max starts with ensuring our own team members are comfortable,” the airline said in a message on its internal computer network. American also said it’s planning opportunities for corporate customers to see the aircraft and ask questions.
The FAA cleared the Max to resume flying on Nov. 18, ending a 20-month flying ban that followed two fatal crashes within five months. The agency is mandating changes to a safety system linked to the accidents and fixes to other flaws discovered during months of reviews. New pilot training is also required.
American’s first one-hour employee flight is scheduled at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on Dec. 3. Additional flights are set for Miami on Dec. 8 and 17, and for New York’s LaGuardia on Dec. 9 and 15. The flights, which will take off and land in the same airport, are open to active American employees from any location, but not retirees or workers’ relatives.
The charters will follow a Dec. 2 flight carrying reporters, employees and executives between DFW and American’s maintenance base in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where some of the company’s Max jets are being readied for service. The employee flights were reported earlier by the View From The Wing travel blog.
For the Max’s commercial return, American has scheduled the first U.S. service with single daily round trips between Miami and LaGuardia from Dec. 29 through Jan. 4. Company pilots were able to begin updated computer-based Max training Nov. 27, and will begin flight simulator sessions on Dec. 3, according to airline documents seen by Bloomberg News.
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.