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Boeing 737 MAX with 100 people aboard returns to service with first US commercial flight since entire fleet of jets was grounded in March 2019 after two deadly crashes

 A Boeing 737 MAX with 100 passengers aboard has successfully completed a trip from Miami to New York, in the aircraft's first U.S. commercial flight since faulty sensor readings contributed to two deadly crashes and the plane was grounded in 2019.

The American Airlines flight landed at New York's LaGuardia Airport at 1.12pm on Tuesday, following the uneventful two hour, 48 minute flight.

Passengers on the flight, many of them members of the media, booked tickets through the airline's normal channels. American alerted passengers that they would be flying on a 737 MAX and gave them a chance to change flights if they were uncomfortable.


The president of American Airlines was on board the flight, as were the wife of the pilot and mother of the first officer. Many other passengers were simply normal travelers making their way to New York.

'Schedule and price, that's the most important,' passenger Honey Torrealba, a 26-year-old social media manager, told CNBC before boarding the flight, dismissing concerns about the MAX's troubled history. 

All of Boeing's 737MAX aircraft were grounded in March 2019 after crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, which killed 346 people in all.  

Last month, the Federal Aviation Administration approved changes that Boeing made to an automated flight-control system that was implicated in the disasters.


AA718 is scheduled to land in New York around 1.30pm on Tuesday. It is the first US commercial flight of the 737 MAX since the plane was grounded in March 2019 after two deadly crashes

AA718 is scheduled to land in New York around 1.30pm on Tuesday. It is the first US commercial flight of the 737 MAX since the plane was grounded in March 2019 after two deadly crashes

Passengers look out at American Airlines flight 718, a Boeing 737 Max, parked at its gate at Miami International Airport as people load for the flight to New York on Tuesday

Passengers look out at American Airlines flight 718, a Boeing 737 Max, parked at its gate at Miami International Airport as people load for the flight to New York on Tuesday

Passengers board the first 737 MAX US commercial flight in 21 months in Miami on Tuesday for the flight to New York

Passengers board the first 737 MAX US commercial flight in 21 months in Miami on Tuesday for the flight to New York

American Airlines flight 718 is pushed back from its gate at Miami International Airport on its way to New York on Tuesday

American Airlines flight 718 is pushed back from its gate at Miami International Airport on its way to New York on Tuesday


In both crashes, the system pushed the nose down repeatedly based on faulty sensor readings, and pilots were unable to regain control.

A Reuters/IPSOS poll shows that more than half of passengers are wary of taking the jet when reminded of two fatal crashes that led to the grounding.

'This aircraft is ready to go,' American President Robert Isom said at a media briefing in Miami before the flight. The airline is confident in the safety of the 737 MAX, he added.

American's first flight between Miami and LaGuardia follows flight control updates, maintenance work, fresh pilot training and town hall meetings with flight crews to walk them through Boeing's changes and address concerns. 

American Airlines currently has 31 737 MAX aircraft after taking delivery of seven more jets since the FAA lifted its safety ban, including one on Monday and plans to gradually reintroduce the plane to its fleet. 

The MAX was grounded worldwide in March 2019, days after the second crash. Reports by House and Senate committees faulted Boeing and the FAA for failures in the process of certifying the plane.

The Boeing 737 Max flew its first commercial flight since the aircraft was allowed to return to service nearly two years after being grounded worldwide following a pair of separate crashes

The Boeing 737 Max flew its first commercial flight since the aircraft was allowed to return to service nearly two years after being grounded worldwide following a pair of separate crashes

American Airlines ground crew look on as the flight takes off from Miami on Tuesday. 'This aircraft is ready to go,' American President Robert Isom said at a media briefing in Miami before the flight

American Airlines ground crew look on as the flight takes off from Miami on Tuesday. 'This aircraft is ready to go,' American President Robert Isom said at a media briefing in Miami before the flight

American Airlines flight 718 takes off from Miami in a historic moment as the 737 MAX returns to service. A Reuters/IPSOS poll shows that more than half of passengers are wary of taking the jet when reminded of two fatal crashes

American Airlines flight 718 takes off from Miami in a historic moment as the 737 MAX returns to service. A Reuters/IPSOS poll shows that more than half of passengers are wary of taking the jet when reminded of two fatal crashes

FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson, a former military and airline pilot, operated a test flight in September and vouched for the plane's safety, saying he would put his family on it. 

American Airlines President Robert Isom was on Tuesday's inaugural U.S. flight.

American plans to make one round trip a day between Miami and New York with the planes through January 4 before putting the MAX on more routes. 

United Airlines plans to resume flights with the MAX in February, and Southwest Airlines plans to resume flights with the planes in March.

The MAX's return comes at a time when COVID-19 has thrust the industry into its worst crisis, with airlines parking hundreds of jets as demand hovers around 30 percent of 2019 levels.

When the 737 MAX was grounded, U.S. airlines canceled flights because they lacked aircraft to meet demand, adding to Boeing's financial liability.

Now airlines are deferring jet deliveries and do not expect a robust rebound until COVID-19 vaccines are widely available.

American Airlines flight 718 takes off on Tuesday. American plans to make one round trip a day between Miami and New York with the planes through January 4 before putting the MAX on more routes

American Airlines flight 718 takes off on Tuesday. American plans to make one round trip a day between Miami and New York with the planes through January 4 before putting the MAX on more routes

The flight took off without incident on Tuesday in Miami. The MAX's return comes at a time when COVID-19 has thrust the industry into its worst crisis in history

The flight took off without incident on Tuesday in Miami. The MAX's return comes at a time when COVID-19 has thrust the industry into its worst crisis in history

American Airlines flight 718 lands at LaGuardia airport in New York without incident after the two hour, 48 minute flight

American Airlines flight 718 lands at LaGuardia airport in New York without incident after the two hour, 48 minute flight

Passengers on the flight, seen landing in New York, included the president of American Airlines and the pilot's wife

Passengers on the flight, seen landing in New York, included the president of American Airlines and the pilot's wife

Relatives of 737 MAX crash victims oppose its return.

'The truth is that 346 people are now dead because Boeing cut corners, lied to regulators, and simply considers this the cost of doing business,' Yalena Lopez-Lewis, whose husband died in the crash, said in a statement issued by her lawyers. 

'It is infuriating that American Airlines is in effect rewarding Boeing for the corrupt and catastrophic process that led to the Max.'

Zipporah Kuria, a British citizen whose father also died in the Ethiopian crash, pointed to the recent disclosure in a Senate committee report that Boeing representatives coached FAA test pilots reviewing Boeing updates to the Max flight-control system.

'Boeing leadership is still riddled with deceit. Their priorities are not on consumer safety,' she said in an interview.

Regulators in Europe and Brazil also cleared the way for airlines to resume using the plane if certain changes were made and pilots were provided with additional training.

The first worldwide passenger flight with a revamped MAX took place this month in Brazil. 

Brazil's Gol airlines has since operated more than 540 flights and Aeromexico has operated more than 80 with MAX planes, according to tracking service Flightradar24.

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