Not long after Europe's top travel regulator, EASA, the European Aviation Safety Agency, gave the Boeing 737 MAX 8 the green light to return to the skies, after 18 months of grounding following two infamous MAX crashes, American Airlines will return the MAX to service for passenger flight by the end of 2020.
According to Reuters, American plans to resume 737 MAX flights between Miami and New York from Dec. 29 to Jan. 4, with the ability to book flights as early as Oct. 24. As of yet it's unclear who, if anyone, will want to fly in the plane that was "designed by clowns…supervised by monkeys."
"We remain in contact with the FAA and Boeing on the certification process and we'll continue to update our plans based on when the aircraft is certified," American said in a statement.
The FAA published a statement Sunday saying there is no timeline for the 737 MAX's approval and said it "will lift the grounding order only after FAA safety experts are satisfied that the aircraft meets certification standard."
Adding a single domestic route makes sense for the airline, considering the troubled plane is banned from flight in many countries following two fatal crashes that killed 346 people.
Last week, EASA was satisfied with Boeing's fixes to the plane, which has allowed it to return to Europe's skies by the end of the year. The FAA's head Steve Dickson recently flew the MAX. It appears MAX is entering the final chapter before recertification.
As soon as the aircraft is recertified, Boeing will work with American to upgrade its fleet of MAX planes - no timelines were given on how long the updates would take. With 24 737 MAX planes its fleet, currently grounded in a maintenance facility in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the airline plans to order an additional 76 jets. Given the groundings and resulting production delays and collapse in the air travel and tourism industries, future plane orders are likely delayed.
Sunday's announcement follows American's cut of 9,000 jobs after Washington failed to deliver more federal aid to the airline industry. American will release earnings on Thursday morning. In 1H20, the airline lost more than $5 billion, as the virus pandemic has decimated airlines, travel and tourism, and much of the services economy.