American Airlines starts Boeing 737 Max flights to boost confidence in jets after fatal crashes - CNBC

TULSA, Oklahoma — American Airlines is flying its employees, including top executives, and reporters on its Boeing 737 Max planes this week in hopes of boosting confidence in the jetliners that were grounded for 20 months after two crashes that killed 346 people.

At its maintenance base in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Wednesday, the airline laid out how it’s pulling the planes out of storage and preparing them for flights. American is also planning to allow customers to view the jets at airports before commercial service resumes.

An exterior view of an American Airlines B737 MAX airplane is seen at DFW International Airport in Dallas, Texas on December 2, 2020. The Boeing 737 MAX will take another key step in its comeback to commercial travel on December 2, 2020 by attempting to reassure the public with a test flight by American Airlines conducted for the news media.

Cooper Neill | AFP | Getty Images

The Federal Aviation Administration lifted its ban on the planes on Nov. 18, clearing airlines to start flying the jets again. Regulators worldwide grounded the planes in March 2019 after the two crashes of nearly new 737 Max jets within less than five months of one another.

The design flaws discovered on the planes and that federal regulators certified the planes as safe in 2017 hurt the reputation of both Boeing and the FAA.

American is set to become the first U.S. carrier to resume flights with paying passengers on the 737 Max. It plans to start commercial flights between Miami and New York’s LaGuardia Airport on Dec. 29.

“You don’t build confidence when the plane sits on the ground,” American Airlines’ COO David Seymour told CNBC at the Tulsa base on Wednesday. “You build confidence when