By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

CHICAGO (CBS/AP/CNN) — Boeing’s 737 Max, grounded since March of 2019, might finally be hitting the skies again. American Airlines said it plans to fly the 737 Max again by the end of the year, assuming the jets are recertified by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The airline said, upon receiving FAA recertification, it will begin phasing the 737 Max back into service with once-a-day flights between New York and Miami from Dec. 29 through Jan. 4.

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“We remain in contact with the (Federal Aviation Administration) and Boeing on the certification process, and we’ll continue to update our plans based on when the aircraft is certified,” spokeswoman Sarah Jantz said in a statement.

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The new slate of American Airlines flights will be available for booking as early as October 24 and customers will be made aware they will be flying on a Max, the airline said.

Customers can see on American’s website the type of plane for any flight if they know where to click. The airline said customers won’t be automatically rebooked on a Max if their original flight plan changes.

The announcement follows American’s cut of 9,000 jobs after calls for more coronavirus federal aid failed. The airline is also expected to report earnings on October 22. In the first half of the year, the company lost $5 billion, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to take its toll on the airline industry.

Earlier in October, the FAA published a draft of the proposed pilot training for the Max — just one of a half-dozen procedural steps the agency has laid out that will need to be completed before it grants final approval for airlines to fly the plane again.

The 737 Max could be flying again in Europe by the end of the year as well.

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Bloomberg reported that the European Aviation Safety Agency’s executive director, Patrick Ky, said he is satisfied that changes to the jet have made it safe enough to return to the skies before the end of the year. EASA said Friday that the article was accurate. It said it expects to publish a proposed airworthiness directive for the plane next month ahead of public consultation.

All 737 Max jets were pulled from service last year, after two crashes that killed 364 people.

The first 737 Max crash occurred in October 2018 in Indonesia, and another crashed less than five months later in Ethiopia. In both cases, an automated anti-stall system new to the plane pushed the nose down, and pilots were unable to regain control. All Max jets were grounded worldwide in March 2019.

Boeing has redesigned software and computers on the plane to make the anti-stall system less powerful. The Federal Aviation Administration is reviewing those changes and conducting test flights. The agency hasn’t given a timetable for making a decision on whether to let the plane fly again.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press and the CNN Wire contributed to this report.)

 

 

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CBS 2 Chicago Staff