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Boeing Shares Gain As American Airlines Readies 737 MAX For First U.S. Flight Since Grounding

Boeing's 737 MAX will fly American Airlines passengers from New York to Miami Tuesday in its first commercial flight since the FAA grounding in March of 2019.

Boeing Co.  (BA) - Get Boeing Company Report shares edged higher Tuesday as American Airlines  (AAL) - Get American Airlines Group, Inc. Report readied the return of the planemaker's 737 MAX for the first U.S. commercial flight since its grounding in March of 2019. 

The troubled passenger jet will travel from Miami International Airport to New York's LaGuardia airport this morning, following around 250 commercial flights in Mexico and Brazil earlier this month that came after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration cleared the 737 MAX for service on November 17.

FAA Administrator Steven Dickson said he was "100% confident" in the safety of the aircraft after rescinding a 20-month old order that allows the plane to resume commercial flights. The 737 MAX was grounded in March of 2019 following two fatal crashes which were ultimately linked to its navigation system, in Ethiopia and Indonesia that killed 346 people. 

Boeing shares were marked 1.4% higher in early trading Wednesday to change hands at $219.05 each, a move that takes the stock's six-month gain to around 12.5%. American shares were marked 0.1% higher at $16.08 each. 

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Tuesday's $218 level for Boeing, however, is still more than 50% south of its levels in March of 2019 in the days prior to the Ethiopian Airlines disaster that took the lives of 157 passengers and crew.

The 737 MAX's return to service is an important component in Boeing's ongoing recovery, but CEO Dave Calhoun has warned that it may take the aerospace industry at least three years to return to pre-pandemic levels of profitability as carriers pullback on new orders amid a plunge in global passenger traffic.

Earlier this month Boeing said executives, managers and most of the group's employees won't receive merit-based pay increases next year but will instead be given a one-time award of restricted stock unites that will vest on December 14, 2023. 

The planemaker also increase its target for staff reductions last month that will take its overall headcount to under 130,000 by the end of next year.