United Airlines is buying another 25 of Boeing’s controversial 737 MAX jet, the carrier said Monday — increasing its order to 180 planes, according to a report.
The 737 MAX returned to American skies on Dec. 29 after a nearly two-year grounding following two deadly crashes in a five-month span in 2018 and 2019.
United resumed flights on the 737 MAX in February, and in a memo Monday morning, the airline said it was purchasing additional planes in anticipation of increased travels as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“As the end of the pandemic nears and vaccines continue to roll out, today’s fleet announcement helps position us to meet the demand we expect to see in 2022 and 2023,” United exec Andrew Novella wrote in the memo, according to WSJ.
United lost over $7 billion in 2020, as the pandemic depleted air travel across the globe, the Journal said.
Hundreds of 737 MAX orders were cancelled in 2020, according to CNN. Shares of both Boeing and United increased with news of the order, the network reported.
A total of 346 people were killed in two separate 737 MAX crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.
Federal Aviation Administration officials cleared the model for flights last November, saying Boeing had identified software and training changes required for safe operation.
Family members of victims of the aircraft’s previous crashes continue to blast the FAA’s decision, however, and have called the its certification process into question.
Boeing is now dealing with issues with another one of its models, the 777.
The FAA ordered immediate inspections of all 777 jets in service last week after an engine on a United flight out of Denver burst into flames shortly after takeoff on Feb. 20.