FILE PHOTO: An American Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 flight from Los Angeles approaches for landing at Reagan National Airport shortly after an announcement was made by the FAA that the planes were being grounded by the United States in Washington, U.S. March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
CHICAGO (Reuters) – The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), which represents American Airlines Group (AAL.O) flight attendants, still has safety concerns about a relaunch of the Boeing 737 MAX, its president told Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg in a letter seen by Reuters.
The letter, dated Oct. 30, follows two days of hearings in Washington during which lawmakers grilled Muilenburg about the development of the 737 MAX following two crashes that killed 346 people and led to the aircraft’s worldwide grounding in March.
In the letter, APFA President Lori Bassani told Muilenburg that the hearings show breakdowns in supervision of the 737 MAX and raise questions about the Federal Aviation Administration’s resources for oversight.
“The 28,000 flight attendants working for American Airlines refuse to walk onto a plane that may not be safe and are calling for the highest possible safety standards to avoid another tragedy,” Bassani said.
Pilot and flight attendant unions are expected to play a role in an eventual campaign to win over public sentiment on the aircraft once the FAA approves its return to service.
Boeing has said it is targeting FAA approval in the fourth quarter.
U.S. airlines that operated the 737 MAX before its grounding have removed the jet from their flying schedules into early next year.
Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Chris Reese and Dan Grebler