Brazil’s Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA said it will be the first airline to resume regular flights with Boeing’s 737 MAX since safety officials lifted a lengthy grounding of the embattled jet last month.Passenger service on the MAX will begin Dec. 9 on domestic routes from Sao Paulo, the airline said in a statement late Monday.
Gol has trained 140 of its pilots in the U.S., using simulator sessions and a new curriculum approved by the Federal Aviation Administration and ANAC, Brazil’s regulator, in the wake of two fatal MAX crashes.
Boeing’s best-selling jetliner is due to make its return in the U.S. almost three weeks later when American Airlines Group relaunches MAX service on flights connecting Miami with New York. Boeing is also closing in on another milestone, the first post-grounding delivery of a MAX plane, with a handover to United Airlines likely this week.
The moves will enable the Chicago-based planemaker to crank up a critical commercial machine after racking up about $20 billion in costs from the MAX accidents, which prompted the longest aircraft grounding in U.S. history and sparked federal investigations and scores of lawsuits. Boeing redesigned key flight-control software after the crashes, which killed 346 people.
While Boeing has warned that it faces another year of losses brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, its shares have soared 65% since the end of October, buoyed by the MAX’s return and vaccine progress. That was the biggest gain during the period on the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
While Gol didn’t specify which destinations the MAX would serve from Sao Paulo, the airline’s website said flights to Porto Alegre, Curitiba and Rio de Janeiro are among those that may be operated by the model.
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