US consumer protection group FlyersRights today published the following letter to the four U.S. operators of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft:
December 3, 2020
Chairman and CEO Doug Parker
Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly
Chairman Oscar Munoz and CEO Scott Kirby
Chairman and CEO Bradley Tilden
To the CEOs of U.S. Airlines flying the Boeing 737 MAX:
As the FAA ungrounded the Boeing 737 MAX after 20 months, American Airlines has rushed to schedule flights before the end of the year, even before foreign civil aviation authorities such as EASA have cleared the plane to fly. Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and Alaska Airlines have plans to start flights in early 2021. Reuters reported in October that Alaska Airlines was in advanced talks to order even more 737 MAXs from Boeing.
While you may be able to conclude work on the planes and complete the modest pilot training requirements for a small team of pilots by December 29th, you have neglected one key component: public trust.
Airlines want the flying public to have confidence that the 737 MAX is no longer a death machine. Airlines need the flying public to believe the FAA this time. Staging media stunts will not work. We see no better way for you to win the public’s confidence back than by joining FlyersRights.org and independent safety experts in efforts to force the FAA to release technical details of the fixes to the MAX.
“If our pilots and safety teams are confident the plane is safe, we are confident.” – American Airlines COO David Seymour.
Statements like this have two glaring problems. First, the reason the Boeing 737 MAX crashed twice within its first two years of service, killing 346 people, is that Boeing concealed information from the FAA, the pilots, and you, the airlines. How can you trust the FAA proclaiming, for the second time, that the 737 MAX is safe, if the FAA and Boeing will not release technical details of the fixes and testing done to the MAX?
Second of all, your pilots have not demonstrated confidence that the plane is safe. Dennis Tajer, spokesperson for the Allied Pilot Association, stated on November 17th, “I’m not walking down that jet bridge, and nor is any other pilot until we’ve been assured that this airplane will be fixed, it is fully vetted, it is transparent and we are robustly trained. We have yet to see the full training on it.”
“You don’t build confidence when the plane sits on the ground. You build confidence when it’s out there flying and it’s doing the job it’s intended to do.” –American Airlines COO David Seymour.
No, you earn confidence in the MAX by ensuring that the FAA and Boeing release the technical details of the fixes, while the plane is still on the ground, rather than relying on unwarranted faith in the FAA and secret data.
Member, FAA Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (1993-present)
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