Boeing 737 Max makes its first commercial flight in almost two years

What was supposed to be the high point of Boeing's business became a nightmare, especially for those left behind by two fatal crashes nearly two years ago. The Boeing 737 Max was similarly dropped in the center of controversy that unsurprisingly included scandals going all the way up to the FAA. The company's entire fleet has been grounded around the world for nearly two years but, after a successful and thankfully uneventful test flight just last week, the 737 Max went back to the skies in what will be remembered as its first commercial flight since 2019.

It's easy enough to blame the software, the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System or MCAS that the company developed specifically for the 737 Max, for the crashes. It turned out, however, that human nature was actually at the heart of the problem. It may be history now but it remains a gruesome reminder of the dangers arising from even the smallest oversight.

For its part, Boeing has been working to address the errors in both software and hardware of the planes to get them flying again as soon as possible. Of course, airlines are also eager to return their fleets into service since they have been incurring losses on their grounded investments. The first to take the risk was Brazil's largest airline Gol who flew a handful of passengers from Sau Paulo to Porto Alegre on Wednesday.

It won't be alone, however, as American Airlines and Southwest Airlines are both preparing to return their 737 Max planes to service within the next few months. They will, however, have to handle it carefully, as far as customer relations are concerned. Gol is reportedly allowing passengers to exchange their tickets if they don't want to be on a 737 Max flight but some of those who took the plane's first flight were reportedly not aware they were flying on one.

The slow progress in returning the 737 Max to active service is partly due to the required new training for pilots flying the planes, something that was severely lacking in the first iteration of the 737 Max that lead to the fatal crashes. There will undoubtedly be some fear and apprehension from passengers despite the intense scrutiny the models received.