American Airlines plans to have its senior executives fly on the Boeing 737 MAX once the grounded planes are cleared to return to service to try to reassure the flying public that the jets are safe. American CEO Doug Parker said at the company’s annual shareholders meeting this week that executives and staff would take test flights on the planes once the Federal Aviation Administration approves them to fly again. Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg also plans to be on one of the first flights after the plane’s return.
Boeing 737 MAX jets have been grounded worldwide since an Ethiopian Airlines crash in March that killed 157 people, five months after a Lion Air crash in Indonesia in which 189 people died. Boeing has finished a software update to fix a system problem that was involved in both crashes, and airlines are now waiting for FAA approval to put the planes back in service. It’s not clear when that will take place. But travelers are wary about getting back on the 737 MAX planes, with a poll earlier this month finding that 41 percent of Americans said they wouldn’t consider flying on one of them until they had been back in service for at least six months.