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Boeing 737 MAX Returns to U.S. Skies

By Lou Whiteman - Dec 29, 2020 at 1:58PM

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American Airlines becomes the first U.S. carrier to fly the plane since it was recertified.

Boeing's ( BA 3.73% ) 737 MAX returned to service in the U.S. on Tuesday, as American Airlines Group ( AAL 11.45% ) made good on its plan to restart commercial flights using the plane before year's end.

American flight 718 took off from Miami at 10:24 a.m. EST bound for New York's LaGuardia Airport, operating a Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplane. It's the first U.S. commercial flight for the MAX since March 2019 when the plane was grounded after a pair of fatal accidents.

The flight landed safely in New York at 1:15 p.m.

An American 737 in flight.

Image source: American Airlines.

The 737 MAX was recertified in November, and American soon after announced plans to be the first U.S. carrier to fly it again. American Airlines president Robert Isom was scheduled to be aboard both the first flight and the plane's return flight to Miami later in the day.

The plane has been in operation in Brazil since early December.

Tuesday's flight is an important symbolic milestone for Boeing, but it does little to change the outlook for the stock. Boeing shares lost nearly 75% of their value early in 2020 but has made back more than half of that loss in recent months, and the 737 MAX recertification should mean the worst is over for the company.

But Boeing still has an inventory of more than 400 planes to deliver at a time when airlines are retrenching due to COVID-19. Boeing currently hopes to resume 737 MAX production to more than 30 planes per month in early 2022, well below the pre-grounding and pre-pandemic goal to manufacture more than 50 airframes per month by now.

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Stocks Mentioned

The Boeing Company Stock Quote
The Boeing Company
BA
$205.89 (3.73%) $7.40
American Airlines Group Inc. Stock Quote
American Airlines Group Inc.
AAL
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