American Airlines has recently revealed that it believes its fleet of Boeing 737 Max jets will start flying again on January 16th, 2020 — later than initially expected.
In order for the planes to start flying again, the Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Transportation will need to sign off on the fixes to the problems, that caused the two crashes that led to the deaths of 346 people.
Impending return to service?
Boeing claims to have resolved the issues with the sensors that adversely affected the planes' MCAS systems.
Initial reports after the two crashes suggested that the readings caused the plane's systems to calculate the plane's position incorrectly, causing the aircraft to nosedive and crash.
The company claims it has fixed these problems with expensive retrofitting. As Gizmodo reports, United Airlines has removed the 737 Max from its flight schedule until December 19, 2019.
In a statement to the Washington Post, the airline said that “American Airlines anticipates that the impending software updates to the Boeing 737 Max will lead to recertification of the aircraft later this year and resumption of commercial service in January 2020. We are in continuous contact with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Department of Transportation (DOT).”
Despite this, the FAA said in the same report by the Post that there is “not a prescribed timeline” for the 737 Max’s return to service.
What's more, this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that European regulators are not satisfied with the 737 Max changes that have been cleared by the FAA.
While all of the regulatory background checks have been going on in the background, damning allegations have come out about Boeing's conduct leading up to the crash.
One of these surfaced recently and involved an ethical complaint filed by an engineer at the company. Curtis Ewbank, the senior engineer who flagged the issues, said the following in his complaint:
"I was willing to stand up for safety and quality, but was unable to actually have an effect in those areas. Boeing management was more concerned with cost and schedule than safety or quality."
The investigation into the crashes and Boeing's role in them continues.