Boeing Co’s 737 MAX on Wednesday will make its first public demonstration flight with members of the media since being grounded over fatal crashes, as one of its biggest customers, American Airlines, seeks to prove it is safe for passengers.
The flight from the airline’s base in Dallas, Texas, to Tulsa, Oklahoma, comes weeks before the airline’s first commercial flight on Dec. 29, and is part of a PR effort by the planemaker and airlines to rehabilitate the jet’s image following a record 20-month ban.
Boeing said it had no comment on the American flight and that it would not have staff aboard. The planemaker has said that airlines will take a direct role in demonstrating to passengers that the 737 MAX is safe.
Boeing’s best-selling jet was grounded worldwide in March 2019 after two crashes five months apart killed a combined 346 people, marking the industry’s worst safety crisis in decades and a huge setback for U.S. aviation regulatory leadership.
Wednesday’s flight marks the first time anyone besides regulators and industry personnel have flown on the MAX since the grounding. Last month, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration cleared it to fly. Brazil’s Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes is planning a similar high-profile event for the redesigned MAX this month, with cautious hopes to fly its first commercial flights as soon as next week, a representative said…