U.S. airlines are initiating a series of 737 MAX testing, or demonstration flights on their own, independent of Boeing’s. The objective of the flights is to build confidence among pilots, flight attendants, and passengers, before the passenger-carrying MAX service return.
This according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
Airline management pilots will be assigned the mission of piloting the demonstration flights with no passengers on board.
Which airlines will be conducting the MAX test flights?
All three of the major US 737 MAX operators will be conducting the demonstration flights. American, United, and Southwest are all in the prepping phase of the upcoming flights at this time.
The airlines’ decisions come as U.S. regulators are strongly considering placing the jet back into scheduled passenger service.
The flights are mainly designed as a public relations drive to demonstrate and confirm that all MAX systems are now “a go”, including the accident-causing MCAS system now considered safe to operate.
The status of Boeing-fixes
Boeing says that the MCAS software has been made safe to operate. A new MAX-specific pilot training program also needs to be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and then implemented.
Boeing 737 MAX return to service
Resuming scheduled passenger flights, however, will not happen overnight. Time will be required to get scheduled operations ready. Things, such as pilot training and the repositioning of MAX aircraft need to take place. There should be at least a month before passenger boarding takes place.
International 737 MAX Unknowns
It’s important to note that the MAX demonstration flights planned by US airlines are unrelated to how airlines in other countries intend to deal with restoring the trust of its own passengers.
Furthermore, each individual country’s aviation authorities also need to make their own decisions as to determining the MAX fixes to be satisfactory or not.
Do the authorities and the airlines of other countries feel that they can follow the lead of US regulators and airlines?
Only time can tell.
What’s your opinion on the 737 MAX test flights being conducted by US airlines? Does it help your confidence in believing the airplane is now safe to fly? Please submit your comments here.
Featured Image: Boeing 737 inflight. Photo: Captain Jan, Europe.