CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago-based Boeing’s 737 Max airplane is returning to the skies.
The Federal Aviation Administration grounded the plane following two fatal crashes just months apart. The grounding has lost Boeing roughly $20 billion.
But for those who lost loved ones in the crashes, the move is premature. CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar talked with some of them on Wednesday.
U.S. Army Capt. Antoine Lewis from south suburban Matteson was one of 346 people killed in two crashes involving the 737 Max.
“What if it goes down again?” said Lewis’ mother, Antoinette Lewis. “I can’t even imagine. And I don’t want to imagine.”
The plane hasn’t flown passengers since March of last year, but will soon takeoff again.
Michael Stumo lost his daughter in a crash and is not pleased.
“Our family is pretty upset,” Stumo said as he showed a picture of his daughter. “This is Samya. She died on the Ethiopian crash of the Boeing 737 Max.”
Families who lost loved ones aboard the Max were devastated to learn the plane is now ungrounded.
“To be willing to put more lives on the line is just, it’s a devastating decision,” said Capt. Antoine Lewis’ sister, Antoinette Lewis Jr. “It’s a huge blow.”
The approval to fly again comes after 20 months of work to address a design flaw that led to the crashes.
“It’s very concerning and it causes a lot of anxiety,” said Brittney Riffel, who lost her husband in the crash.
Riffel was pregnant when Ethiopian 302 went down. Her husband, Melvin, and his brother, Bennett, died in the crash.
“Even though it has been 20 months, it’s still premature, considering there are safety features that need to be fixed,” Riffel said.
Chicago attorney Robert Clifford has filed a massive lawsuit against Boeing on behalf of the passengers killed on the Ethiopian flight.
“All the cases that were filed are filed here in Chicago, Illinois,” said Clifford said. “That plane needs more aggressive and advanced vetting before it can be safely deployed.”
“We need to start putting people’s lives ahead of making money,” said Antoinette Lewis Jr.
Boeing will be able to continue fulfilling orders now that the plane is ungrounded. Those who feel uncomfortable on the Max, several airlines – including United, American, and Southwest – all agree to change your aircraft at no charge.
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