Boeing calls in American Airlines and others for 737 Max training as it waits for clearance to fly

Chicago Tribune Finance 1 month ago

American Airlines is among carriers sending pilots to 737 Max training this week in Miami as Boeing intensifies its efforts to get the jets recertified and back in the air.

Boeing spokesman Charles Bickers said 737 Max operators were invited to training sessions that will take place through mid-October, similar to training sessions it held in March and April. The first of this round of training sessions are in Miami this week, with others to follow in the United Kingdom, Turkey, China and Singapore.

Fort Worth-based American confirmed that it sent representatives from its pilots union, the Allied Pilots Association, to Miami along with other airline representatives.

"The information sessions are part of our ongoing effort to share more details about our plan for supporting the safe return of the 737 Max to commercial service, including demonstrating the proposed 737 Max software update and training program," Bickers said.

Southwest Airlines, based in Dallas, did not respond to a request for comment about its participation in the training sessions. The carrier has said it could take one to two months after the planes are recertified to return to scheduled service.

It's been more than six months since the 737 Max was grounded following fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia and it's still unclear when the FAA will give permission for airlines to fly the 737 Max again.

Boeing is being asked to fix a faulty software system that when paired with faulty sensors sent two Boeing 737 Max jets into a nosedive and killed 346 people. The FAA has since identified another software problem and has asked Boeing to fix it, although the regulator didn't say what it was.

FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson spoke in Montreal on Monday to convince other global aviation regulators that the U.S. agency was up to the task.

The two airlines based in North Texas, Southwest and American, had the largest fleet of 737 Max jets when they were grounded in March, with 34 and 24 respectively. Both expected to receive more jets throughout 2019.

The continued grounding means airlines face an increasingly tight supply of aircraft heading into the holiday travel season. American Airlines has taken the Max off schedules through Dec. 3, while Southwest said it doesn't plan to fly it until after Jan. 5.

American Airlines has one 737 Max flight simulator that should be ready by the end of October, although it's not anticipated that additional training will be needed for pilots who previously operated the 737 Max.

"This is a joint session with other airlines," said American spokesman Ross Feinstein. "We're continuing to work closely with (the Allied Pilots Association) and in lockstep with the FAA and Boeing."

(c)2019 The Dallas Morning News

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