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Flyers advocacy group takes FAA to court over MAX decision

written by Hannah Dowling | December 9, 2020
FAA Headquarters in Washington, D.C (Wikicommons)

An airline passengers advocacy group has challenged the FAA’s decision to approve the embattled Boeing 737 MAX’s return to commercial service in court, ahead of the aircraft’s first passenger flights in nearly two years.

The group, named Flyers Rights, has said it has formally appealed the 18 November decision of the Federal Aviation Administration to recertify the amended 737 MAX at the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Paul Hudson, president of FlyersRights.org, said that FAA and Boeing based their convictions of the MAX’s safety on “secret data and secret testing” that the advocacy group deemed “clearly legally inadequate”.

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Hudson, joined by some US lawmakers, has demanded the FAA disclose more underlying data that was reported in its review of the modified jet. 

The appeals court has reportedly directed Flyers Rights to file a statement of issues by 6 January 2021, and instructed both sides to file legal motions by 21 January.

In a separate matter, the group is also attempting to force the FAA to turn over official documents related to the 737 MAX flight testing and ultimate software changes under the Freedom of Information Act.

The news comes as airlines in both US and Brazilian jurisdictions begin to plan their first passenger flights on the 737 MAX within the coming days and weeks.

Brazil’s GOL is set to become the first airline in the world to fly passengers on the Boeing 737 MAX in almost two years on Wednesday.

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GOL said it will use the MAX on routes to and from its hub in São Paulo, the nation’s largest city, although it did not disclose the exact route that will be taken on its first flights.

Meanwhile, American Airlines has said it will begin its own passenger flights on 29 December, with one daily return flight between Miami and New York.

Both airlines have adopted a policy to allow passengers to change their tickets free of charge should they wish not to fly on the newly recertified 737 MAX.

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