American Airlines has a plan for convincing consumers that the Boeing 737 Max aircraft in its fleet are safe for flight: Stick their top brass on them and see how it goes.
American Airlines chief Doug Parker said during a shareholders meeting this week that executives and other staff would take flights on the 737 Max jets before the carrier would ask its customers to do so, Bloomberg reported Thursday. That is, hm, certainly one idea.
In an emailed statement to Gizmodo about the move, a spokesperson for American Airlines said that it is “confident that the impending software updates, along with the new training elements Boeing is developing for the MAX, will lead to recertification of the aircraft soon.”
“Our team continues to work collaboratively with the FAA, Boeing and the Allied Pilots Association in this process,” the spokesperson said. “We have the utmost confidence in our fleet, which is flown by our highly-trained pilots. Our customers can be assured that an American Airlines pilot would never operate an unsafe aircraft.”
The decision follows what has been a disastrous public relations period for both Boeing as well as the airlines who have 737 Max jets in their fleets. Boeing’s 737 Max planes were ordered grounded in March following two separate deadly crashes that killed 346 people. And as it’s not clear when the planes will again be cleared for commercial flight, airlines with the jets in their fleet have been forced to continue canceling flights.
American Airlines announced this week that it would extend cancellations of flights through Sep. 3, writing in a notice that roughly 115 flights per day would be canceled as a result. Southwest Airlines, which also has 737 Max jets in its fleet, also announced this week that it would be canceling roughly 100 flights per day through the beginning of September.
Will American Airlines putting its top brass on aircraft involved in the deaths of hundreds of people restore consumer trust? Who the hell knows. Surveys around flyers’ sentiment toward the planes appear to be mixed. It’s certainly bold though, they can have that.