Boeing 737 Max resumes flights in US after 20-month grounding

The Boeing 737 MAX fleet of aircraft, which were globally grounded after two fatal crashes involving the model that took place within months, resumed its first commercial flight in the US after 20 months.

With a group of journalists on board, the 45-minute flight from Dallas, Texas, to Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Wednesday was the latest effort of American Airlines, one of the MAX’s biggest customers, to demonstrate confidence in the plane’s safety, reports Xinhua news agency.

Last month, the US Federal Aviation Administration rescinded the order that halted commercial operations of the Boeing 737 MAX, paving the way for the aircraft’s return to commercial service.

The MAX had been globally grounded since March 2019 after the crashes of the Lion Air Flight 610 (October 2018) and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 (March 2019) claimed a total of 346 lives.

The grounding came after more evidence emerged indicating that the aircraft’s key flight control software played a part in the two deadly crashes.

According to Boeing, throughout the past 20 months the company worked closely with airlines, providing them with detailed recommendations regarding long-term storage and ensuring their input was part of the effort to safely return the airplanes to service.

In addition to changes made to the airplane and pilot training, Boeing said it has taken important steps to strengthen its focus on safety and quality.