MIAMI – A United Airlines (UA) spokesperson confirmed with Airways this week that when the carrier returns the Boeing 737 MAX 9 to service, it will be used between George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and Denver International Airport (DEN) before expanding from there.
It is expected UA will also initially reopen Boeing 737 MAX Pilot bases in its two hubs of Houston and Denver. Before it can re-enter service however the Pilots need to retrain/familiarize with the type which is part of why UA is holding off bringing it back into service so quickly.
It is unknown at this time when the airline will restart service with it outside of the first quarter of 2021.
Statement from United Airlines
United offered the following statement to Airways on the MAX, “We thank the Department of Transportation, the FAA, other independent regulators and experts who have worked tirelessly to certify the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and help ensure it is fully safe to fly.”
“Nothing is more important to United than the safety of our customers and employees, so United’s MAX fleet won’t return to service until we have completed more than 1,000 hours of work on every aircraft, including FAA-mandated changes to the flight software, additional pilot training, multiple test flights and meticulous technical analysis to ensure the planes are ready to fly.”
“We expect to start flying the MAX in the first quarter of next year and will share a more specific schedule with our customers and employees soon.”
US Airlines and the Ungrounded MAX
So far three airlines in the United States have taken delivery of the 737 MAX, UA will be the second carrier to return it into service behind American Airlines (AA), which is doing the opposite from UA by aggressively bringing them back into service quickly following the ungrounding order by the FAA, starting December 29, between Miami (MIA) and New York LaGuardia airport (LGA).
Southwest (WN), the largest global operator of the Boeing 737 MAX, has said it will likely return the MAX during the second quarter of 2021.
Featured image: Brandon Farris/Airways