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Flight Attendant Union Statement on the Boeing 737 MAX Return to Service

Date: November 18, 2020

Washington, DC (November 18, 2020) — Following the Boeing 737 MAX return to service order by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), AFA-CWA International President Sara Nelson released the following statement:

“As aviation’s first responders and last line of defense, Flight Attendants understand that our jobs and our lives depend on this industry meeting the highest possible standards of safety and security. After nearly two years of reviews and the redesign of critical aircraft systems, U.S. regulators are clearing the 737 MAX to resume flying.

"This day is the result of the persistence of engineers and manufacturing workers at Boeing. But this day is also a reminder of why this plane has not flown for two years and the responsibility we all have to ensure we hear those who questioned or called out what went wrong.

“We must honor 346 lives by passing legislation that ensures the process and events that led to their deaths are never repeated. Yesterday, the House passed Aircraft Certification Reform and Accountability Act (H.R. 8408), led by Chairman Peter DeFazio, which would overhaul the way airplanes are certified. Congress should act swiftly to pass this legislation and implement these changes to the certification process. This does not relate to the return to service of the 737 MAX, but this is a moment when we must make good on our commitment to do far better and demand only the highest standards of safety.

“The history of the 737 MAX shows what happens when we undermine and starve key government functions. The 737 MAX was rushed to market without proper review, enabled by the out-of-control ODA system that was put in the hands of the corporation to maintain. Outsourcing regulatory oversight is a slippery slope as corporate efforts to maximize profits comes at the highest cost. The crisis was exacerbated when the Trump administration cow-towed to Boeing and dragged its heels—damaging public confidence at home and the reputation of American aviation abroad.

"Today is a new day for the 737 MAX as worldwide confidence is garnered in its return to service. Flight Attendants will be the ones to answer the flying public’s questions once the MAX returns to service. We will continue to work as one crew with our pilots and engage with Boeing, the FAA, worldwide aviation, and all aviation unions to ensure the safe return to service.”

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The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, (AFA) AFL-CIO represents nearly 50,000 Flight Attendants at 17 airlines. AFA is the union that has advanced the Flight Attendant profession for 75 years, beating back discrimination and improving wages, benefits, working conditions, and aviation safety, health and security in the aircraft cabin. AFA also partners with the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.afacwa.org.


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