Boeing 737 MAX gets positive review as American, United Airlines lay off 32,000 workers

*‘I liked what I saw… flight control system made in wake of the two fatal crashes gives confidence in its airworthiness, says FAA chief Steve Dickson

*American, United Airlines furlough 32,000 workers after government funding ends

Emmanuel Akosile | ConsumerConnect

Sequel to the grounding of the aviation giant’s plane model since March 2019, Boeing’s 737 MAX jet has undergone a test flight by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) chief Steve Dickson.

According to Dickson, a former commercial pilot, flew the aircraft Wednesday, September 30, 2020, during a test flight in Seattle, in the United States.

The FAA Chief stated that the revisions to the flight control system made in the wake of the two fatal crashes gave him confidence in its airworthiness.

“I liked what I saw,” Dickson told reporters in a news conference after the flight.

He said: “I completed a number of test profiles today to examine the functionality of the aircraft and I liked what I saw, so it responded well.”

The test flight didn’t have anything to do with the FAA’s official recertification process, which is still underway, said Dickson.

But he gave the jet an overall positive review after flying it for several hours, and taking it through a number of different scenarios.

“I did two landings and also some air work maneuvers over about a two-hour period… and I felt prepared.

“I think most importantly, I felt that the training prepared me to be very comfortable.”

Recall that in addressing the burning safety issues, Boeing’s 737 MAX, which has been grounded for about a year and half following two crashes that occurred within five months of each other, killing a total of 346 people.

Both crashes were caused, in part, by a faulty automated flight control system, called MCAS.

Following the crashes, Boeing made changes to MCAS and expanded pilots’ training to include simulator time before they can fly the plane.

However, Dickson has assured the public that the plane won’t be allowed to resume service until it has undergone rigorous FAA testing.

The aircraft will also need to be safe enough to earn its own personal seal of approval.

He stressed that “I made a promise I would fly the 737 Max and that I wouldn’t sign off on its return until I was comfortable putting my family on it.

“It was important to experience the training and the handling of the aircraft.”

Meanwhile, the regulatory agency has said that it will not rush the recertification process.

The FAA has released a list of changes that must be made in order for the aircraft to be recertified to fly.

Dickson has said the process cannot and will not be rushed, but at this point, it appears to be close to wrapping up.

“The FAA continues to take a thorough and deliberate approach in our review of Boeing’s proposed changes to the 737 Max.

“The FAA will not approve the plane to return to passenger service until I’m satisfied that we’ve adequately addressed all of the known safety issues,” he stated.

Meanwhile, American and United Airlines furlough 32,000 workers after government funding ends, just as the observers say that the COVID-19 impact on air travel may take years to recover from.

According to report, the moment the clock struck midnight on October 1, both American Airlines and United Airlines initiated the furloughing of more than 32,000 employees after talks for a hopeful COVID-19 aid package fell apart in Washington.

The October 1 pivot point was the agreed-to end date for $25 billion in payroll grants that were established under the CARES Act.

Most of the largest U.S. carriers ─American, Delta, United, SouthWest, Spirit, JetBlue, Alaska ─ had all applied for those aid packages.

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker told his workers that the airline “will begin the difficult process of furloughing 19,000 of our hardworking and dedicated colleagues” ─ an amount that’s nearly 14 percent of the airline’s pre-COVID-19 staff.

Nonetheless, in the months following the government handing out those grants, airlines did just about everything they could to cut costs and salaries to try and make ends meet.

But consumers were still nervous about using air travel, and cranking up the ventilation and taking out middle seats simply didn’t reverse that gut check.

The end result was big, fat, and in red ink.

Passenger loads were down by 75 percent over the summer and industry-wide revenue losses climbed to more than $400 billion.

COVID-19’s ad infinitum expiration date continues to loom large. Airline executives have said a return to normal may not happen for years and that the hit the aviation industry has taken is more serious than after 9/11.

Report indicates that all hope may not be lost, however.

Both United and American say that if a stimulus package makes it through Congress, they are ready and willing to reverse course.

Neither said how long they could keep that promise alive, though.

PSA Airlines, an American-owned regional carrier, told pilots that if Washington doesn’t approve another stimulus package by Sunday, October 4, “the furloughs will still occur,” according to a memo sighted by CNBC.

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