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American Airlines CEO says there's an 'absolute fix' for Boeing's 737 Max

Key Points
  • American Airlines CEO Doug Parker said the company is committed to Boeing's 737 Max jet once it's recertified by the FAA.
  • He says there's an "absolute fix" for the jet's anti-stall system, which was implicated in two deadly crashes.
  • If the carrier's pilots don't agree with the fix, "the aircraft won't fly," Parker says in an interview Wednesday with "NBC Nightly News" anchor Lester Holt.
Doug Parker, CEO of American Airlines.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker says he is fully committed to Boeing's 737 Max jet once it's recertified by the Federal Aviation Administration and that an "absolute fix" does exist for the jet's anti-stall system, implicated in two deadly crashes.

"There's one that we will all be comfortable with, or the aircraft won't be recertified. And our pilots are gonna agree with that, or the aircraft won't fly," Parker said in an interview with "NBC Nightly News" anchor Lester Holt that is scheduled to air Wednesday night.

Parker also acknowledged that it will be hard to restore public trust in the Max after it's recertified. The jet's anti-stall system has been linked to crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed a total of 346 people.

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"Accidents like this, tragedies like this, are ... horrific," he said. "Now, in our case, we've always believed that, that airplane with our pilots, with our training was an airworthy aircraft."

"But ... it's not for us to decide whether or not the aircraft flies. It needs to be safe for everyone."

American has canceled thousands of flights through the summer — roughly 115 flights a day — as its 24 Max jets stay grounded. Boeing said Thursday that it has finished the development of a software fix and will work with the FAA to schedule a certification flight.

American anticipates a hit to pretax earnings of $350 million due to Max groundings and cancellations. Some airlines are demanding that Boeing provide compensation, and others have even announced that they will cancel all 737 Max orders due to safety concerns.

Parker said that if American Airlines pilots want more training after the Max is back in the air, "We'll work to do that."

"What I know is our pilots and other pilots are heavily involved in the discussions with the FAA about what training should be required," he said.

The FAA is meeting with civil aviation authorities on Thursday to discuss the agency's safety analysis and plans for the return of the Max.

"It's incredibly important to us that we get to a point where the entire aircraft aviation community feels comfortable that this airplane is ready to get back in the air. And when it is, we'll be flying in it," Parker said.

The full interview can be viewed Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. ET on "NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt."

WATCH: 737 Max recertification flight could happen by end of May

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