Boeing Max returns to U.S. skies with first passenger flight

MIAMI — Paying passengers were scheduled to board a Boeing 737 Max in Miami today for the first time since safety regulators allowed the plane to fly again after two deadly crashes.

The American Airlines flight is scheduled to land at New York’s LaGuardia Airport with about 100 passengers aboard, according to an airline spokeswoman. The airline will give customers the chance to change flights if they don’t want to fly on the Max.

Last month, the Federal Aviation Administration approved changes that Boeing made to an automated flight-control system implicated in crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people in all. In both crashes, the system pushed the nose down repeatedly based on faulty sensor readings, and pilots were unable to regain control.

Regulators in Europe and Brazil have also cleared the way for airlines to resume using the plane if they make certain changes and provide additional training for pilots.

The first passenger flight with a revamped Max took place this month in Brazil. Brazil’s Gol airlines and Aeromexico have operated dozens of Max flights.

The Max was grounded worldwide in March 2019, days after the second crash. Reports by House and Senate committees faulted Boeing and the FAA for failures in the process of certifying the plane.

FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson, a former military and airline pilot, operated a test flight in September and vouched for the plane’s safety, saying he would put his family on it.

American plans to make one round trip a day between Miami and New York with the planes through Jan. 4 before putting the Max on more routes.

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