Feb. 11 (UPI) — United Airlines became the second U.S. carrier Thursday to return the Boeing 737 Max to service.
The Max was grounded worldwide in 2019 after 346 people died in two crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia within five months in 2018 and 2019. The aircraft’s automated flight control Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System pushed both planes into a nosedive after a faulty sensor.
A total of two dozen flights on the Max are planned from United’s Denver and Houston hubs Thursday, Bloomberg reported.
The airline’s first Max flight since the grounding departed shortly before 7:50 a.m. from its Denver hub.
Thursday’s flights make United the second U.S. carrier to return the Max to service.
The Chicago-based airline has scheduled roughly 550 Max flights this month and about 2,000 in March.
American Airlines began operating the plane on a single route between Miami and New York in December, becoming the first U.S. carrier to return the the Max to service.
Brazilian carrier Gol also resumed flights of the 737 Max in December.
United, which has 21 Max jets in its fleet, is offering customers the option to select alternate flights if they’re not comfortable flying the Max during their booking and a week before their flight, but a spokesman told Bloomberg it hasn’t seen a notable trend in customers avoiding the Max aircraft.
Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines are slated to resume Max flights next month.
Last month European and Canadian officials cleared the model for service.