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Boeing 737 MAX takes first US passenger flight since grounding

A passenger flight using a Boeing 737 MAX airliner took off and landed successfully Tuesday for the first time in the United States since it was grounded following two deadly crashes.

American Airlines Flight 718 took off from Miami, Florida a little after 10:30 am (1530 GMT) and arrived at New York’s LaGuardia Airport around 1:09 pm. A flight back to Miami was to follow, Deutsche press agency (dpa) reported.

“We will fly these two flights daily through January 4. After which, we will gradually add additional Boeing 737 MAX-operated flights,” an airline representative noted.

Boeing’s 737 MAX jet was given the green light to fly again last month, but required the planes be fitted with new software for their flight control computer.

The airliner had been grounded in March 2019, following the death of 346 people in two accidents, one in Indonesia in October 2018 and another in Ethiopia in March 2019.

The main cause of the accidents was considered to be faulty control software that directed the jets towards the ground. Pilots were unable to overpower the automatic settings.

Critics have accused the US aeroplane maker of a lack of transparency and cutting corners in a rush to develop the 737 MAX.

The fallout from the accidents led to the jet’s worldwide grounding, the resignation of chief executive Dennis Muilenburg, a criminal probe, and Boeing’s largest financial hit in its 104-year history.

The plane is already in use by Brazil’s Gol airlines and Aeromexico, according to media reports.

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