American Airlines is planning to restart 737 MAX service this year—barely. The airline said that it will fly the MAX between Miami and LaGuardia starting Dec. 29, amounting to just one flight a day. American has 24 of the 737 MAX jets on its roster, second only to Southwest (which has 34) in the U.S. The MAX has recently received approval from the European Aviation Safety Agency, saying that the airplane is now “safe” and that it expects the design to begin flying again in the E.U. before the end of the year.
“We remain in contact with the (Federal Aviation Administration) and Boeing on the certification process, and we’ll continue to update our plans based on when the aircraft is certified,” American Airlines spokeswoman Sarah Jantz said
American will be transparent with travelers that the B-737 on these flights will be a MAX, and that will provide one of the first tests of customer resistance to flying on the jet. Even so, the FAA has not provided a hard timeline on when the airliner will be approved for return to service, though the test flying appears to have concluded in North America and the FAA has updated its training protocols for the MAX to include model-specific simulator training.
This story has been updated to correct the number of 737 MAXes in Southwest’s fleet.