The Federal Aviation Administration this week approved the return to the skies of Boeing’s troubled 737 Max airliner and it could mean the rehiring of workers at a handful of Oklahoma operations.
“Five companies with major operations in Oklahoma got good news today with the FAA approval of 737 Max going back in service,” stated Bill Hancock, Business Services and Rapid Response Coordinator at the Oklahoma Office of Workforce Development.
Spirit AeroSystems in Tulsa manufactures 737 parts. American Airlines maintains all of its 737s in Tulsa.
Southwest Airlines also uses a large number of 737s and has a call center in Oklahoma City. Alaska Airlines maintains many of its 737s in Oklahoma City.
The 737 airliner has been grounded for nearly 20 months after two fatal crashes overseas. The grounding resulted in dozen of some airline plans stored at the Tulsa American Airlines maintenance center.
The grounding order came in March 2019 after an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max crashed and killed all 157 people on board. Five months earlier, a 737 Max operated by Lion Air crashed in Indonesia and all 189 passengers and crew members were killed.
Investigators later linked the deadly crashes to faulty sensors and what they labeled a flawed flight control system. The flaws repeatedly forced planes into nosedives that were uncontrollable by the pilots.
The grounded planes won’t be back in the skies immediately because the FAA is requiring Boeing to made design changes laid out in a 115-page directive. There will also be training requirements for the pilots and maintenance crews.