American Airlines announced that they plan to resume flights of the grounded Boeing Max 737 jets on January 16. The jets have been grounded since March after the planes were involved in two deadly crashes that killed 346 people.
American Airlines says they expect two software upgrades to be approved by regulators before the end of the year. Once the updates are approved, federal regulators will schedule test flights to ensure that the planes are safe to fly. Even if the planes are cleared to fly by the Federal Aviation Administration, they may not get approval from European regulators, who have voiced concerns over the design of the aircraft.
Investigators determined the two deadly crashes were the result of a failure of the angle-of-attack sensors, which caused the aircraft's' Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System to activate. The system pushed the nose of the plane down, forcing the aircraft to go into a dive. The pilots were unable to override the system and were helpless as the planes crashed. The software update is supposed to fix the issue and allow the pilots to override the system.
American Airlines says the grounding of the Max jets has forced them to cancel nearly 10,000 flights in the third quarter, costing the company roughly $140 million.
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