BOEING’S troubled 737 Max aircraft returned to the American skies on Tuesday after two years.
It conveyed passengers in the United States for the first time since it was banned from carrying passengers two years ago.
The passengers were conveyed aboard American Airlines Flight 718, which left Miami around 10:30 a.m.
The plane was scheduled to land in New York at 1:30 p.m. before making the return trip in the afternoon, ending a long and difficult chapter for Boeing.
The return of Boeing Max to the skies will be good news to the Nigerian Aviation sector as three Nigerian carriers – Arik Air, Air Peace and Green African Airways – had placed orders for the controversial aircraft type.
The carriers had not cancelled the orders, despite fatal crashes involving the aircraft type.
The status of the transaction with the Boeing Corporation remains work in progress.
While Air Peace placed an order for 10 Boeing Max aircraft, Green African Airways and Arik Air placed orders for an unspecific number.
The Max was grounded worldwide in March 2019 after 346 people were killed in a pair of crashes, separated by months, in Indonesia and Ethiopia.
The accidents and revelations about the plane’s shortcomings sullied the company’s reputation and cost it billions of dollars in damages, government fines and lost orders.
America’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which has been criticised by lawmakers and safety experts for doing a poor job in certifying the Max in the first place, last month, became the first major regulator to lift its grounding order.
It directed Boeing and the airlines that use the Max to install software updates, modify wiring and make other changes to the plane before it could fly again.
The FAA has since been joined by regulators in Brazil; Canadian and European aviation officials are expected to follow with approvals within weeks.
But the families of those killed aboard the two flights argue that the Max is still unfit to fly.