American Airlines flight staff have literally begged not to work on the Boeing 737 Max when it returns, union boss says
- American Airlines flight attendants are "begging" not to have to work on the Boeing 737 Max when it returns to service after its grounding, Lori Bassani, the head of the union representing them said Thursday.
- "I hear from flight attendants every day, and they're begging me not to make them go back up in that plane," Bassani said, according to the Dallas Morning News.
- The 737 Max has been grounded around the world since March 2019, which saw the second of two deadly crashes involving the aircraft. Those crashes left a total of 346 people dead.
- It is currently unclear when the 737 Max will return to service. Boeing said this week that it will look to resume deliveries of the aircraft to airlines in December.
- Earlier in November, Bassani warned that many of American Airlines' 28,000 flight attendants could refuse to board the 737 Max once it returns, if they feel it is not safe.
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American Airlines flight attendants are "begging" not to have to work on the Boeing 737 Max when it returns to service after its grounding, the head of the union representing them said Thursday.
"I will tell you that I hear from flight attendants every day, and they're begging me not to make them go back up in that plane," Lori Bassani, the president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) said, according to the Dallas Morning News.
The 737 Max has been grounded around the world since March, after an Ethiopian Airlines flight carrying 157 people crashed shortly after takeoff. It was the second disaster involving the plane in six months. The other crash, involving a Lion Air plane in Indonesia, killed 189 people in October 2018.
It is currently unclear when the 737 Max will return to service, but Boeing said this week that it will look to resume deliveries of the aircraft to airlines in December, ahead of a likely return to service in 2020.
737 Max planes will only be allowed to fly when a software update to its Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) - which has been blamed for the two crashes - is formally approved by the US Federal Aviation Administration and other regulators around the world.
Many airlines have removed the 737 Max from their schedules until at least March 2020.
Alex Wong/Getty Images
Bassani has been an outspoken critic of Boeing during the grounding of the 737 Max, and said earlier in November that American Airlines flight attendants could refuse to work on the plane once it returns to service if they do not believe it is completely safe.
"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," said a letter signed by Bassani sent to Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg, according to Reuters.
American Airlines has 24 737 Max planes in its fleet, with 76 yet to be delivered by Boeing.
In separate comments Thursday, Bassani said that despite her worries about the Max's return, her union will not join the scores of airlines, pilots, and victims' families taking legal action against Boeing over the 737 Max crashes and its subsequent grounding.
Airlines and staff are suing the plane manufacturer over lost wages from the plane's grounding.
"It's not our only aircraft, so our people didn't really lose wages," she told the Dallas Business Journal. "Their schedules were changed and they were impacted, but they could always get another flight on another airplane."
American Airlines' approach contrasts to that of the union representing pilots for Southwest Airlines, which is suing Boeing for $100 million in lost compensation, accusing the company of rushing the jet to market and misrepresenting it as safe.
Boeing has faced sharp criticism from staff of US airlines during the grounding, and earlier this week was subject to a sharp rebuke from Jon Weaks, the head of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association. Southwest operates the biggest fleet of 737 Max planes of any airline, with 34 in service before the grounding.
In a letter dated Wednesday, Weaks told colleagues he was concerned about what he said was Boeing "increasingly publicizing" the negative consequences of the plane remaining grounded.
He accused Boeing executives of using such information to pressure regulators and airlines to get the plane back in the sky as soon as possible.
Weaks went on to accuse Boeing of "arrogance, ignorance, and greed" in its approach to the 737 Max.
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