After a worldwide grounding in March 2019 following two deadly crashes, the Boeing 737 Max was cleared for takeoff today on American Airlines flight 718 from Miami to New York. Boeing (BA) moved higher on the news. After bleeding billions of dollars in the wake of the Max disasters, the aircraft maker desperately needs to prove the plane is safe for full-time travel and gain the confidence of airliners, pilots and passengers.
To that point, the pilot of this morning’s flight offered his assurance:
“We’re flying on a Boeing 737 Max,” Capt. Sean Roskey announced over the plane’s PA system, to some applause from passengers, which included American Airlines’ president, crew and other employees. “We have the utmost confidence in this aircraft. As a matter of fact, my wife is on board.”
But not all passengers share this confidence. A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 57% of people said they weren’t likely to fly on a 737 Max, while 37% said they would wait six months or more to fly on a Max. Thankfully, flight 718 landed safely at LaGuardia Airport.
A successful re-launch of the Max could go a long way to get Americans traveling again and give a much-needed boost to the U.S.’ biggest exporter and the world’s largest aerospace company.