American Airlines says management will be among the very first passengers to fly on the airline’s fleet of Boeing 737 Max aircraft once the jets are cleared to return to service. The move is intended to show confidence in the currently grounded planes and assuage customers’ misconceptions that the aircraft have serious design flaws.
According to Boeing, U.S. regulators could clear grounded 737 Max aircraft to return to the skies in a matter of weeks after the planes were grounded earlier this year. Convincing passengers to return to the cabins of 737 Max planes may not be quite as simple, but American Airlines has some ideas about how to get that ball rolling.
Airline officials told Bloomberg that airline executives will be among the very first passengers onboard once the planes are cleared for commercial flights. Spokesperson Ross Feinstein indicated that members of management are expected to be on flights which will ferry the currently grounded planes into position as well as many of the first flights carrying paying customers. “We’d like to get it flying again so when customers get on it, they realize it’s been flying potentially for weeks,” he explained.
After pushing the expected return of the 737 Max back several times, American Airlines CEO Doug Parker says he is not only confident that the plane is safe, but that it will be ready for flights scheduled to take place later this summer. Parker has publicly stated that he believes concerns over the safety of the 737 Max have been overblown and has even suggested that grounding the plane in the first place was an overreaction to two recent air disasters involving the aircraft.
“We wouldn’t be selling seats today if we didn’t think it was a highly likely possibility that the aircraft will be flying by Sept. 3,” American Airlines CEO Doug Parker told Bloomberg’s Mary Schlangenstein. “Once you see pilots from American, Southwest and United saying they’re taking the plane up because it’s safe to fly, it will be. They are exceptionally well trained, they are safety professionals.”
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