American Airlines’ maintenance team is working flat out to complete safety changes to its fleet of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft before their gradual return to service, while new jet deliveries are scheduled to begin as early as this week.
American’s maintenance base, the largest in the world, has housed its 24 MAX aircraft during grounding, Reuters reported.
Following a Nov. 18 order from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) detailing the changes needed to get the plane back on the ground, 260 American Airlines specialists divided into three shifts are working 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“We don’t want to take them out so fast that we don’t fly them … and have to put them back in storage,” said American’s director of operations, David Seymour, in the hangar, where the company welcomed the media on Wednesday.
American will launch commercial service on Dec. 29 with a daily flight between Miami and New York City and gradually reintroduce the jets as its 2,600 pilots of 737 undergo two-and-a-half hour simulator training.
It plans to receive eight new 737 MAX this month that would already have the system upgrades required by the FAA, Seymour said. The first delivery could occur this week.
“There is a lot at stake here and no one is going to rush this plane before it is ready to operate or is safe,” said Erik Olund, managing director of maintenance at the base in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Each aircraft will take an operational readiness flight and receive FAA approval before flying with passengers.
By Tracy Rucinski; Edited by Tim Hepher and Mark Potter.
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