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Boeing 737 MAX Takes First Commercial Trip Since Grounding

Boeing's jet was grounded by the FAA in March 2019 because of two crashes that killed a combined 346 people.
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Boeing’s  (BA) - Get Boeing Company Report 737 MAX took to the air Tuesday for its first commercial flight since being grounded in March 2019 because of two crashes that killed a combined 346 people.

An American Airlines  (AAL) - Get American Airlines Group, Inc. Report jet left Miami International Airport at 10:40 a.m., arriving at New York’s LaGuardia Airport just about 2 1/2 hours later.

“We’re flying on a Boeing 737 MAX,” Capt. Sean Roskey told passengers before the plane lifted off, CNBC reported. “We have the utmost confidence in this aircraft. As a matter of fact, my wife is on board.” American Airlines President Robert Isom was on the plane, too.

Morningstar analyst Burkett Huey offered a mixed take on Boeing after the Federal Aviation Administration approved resumption of 737 MAX flights last month.

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“This is a critical step in our bullish thesis on Boeing, but it’s only the first in a series of steps in the company’s turnaround,” he wrote. "We maintain our $260 per share fair value estimate and do not see a compelling margin of safety in shares at current prices.”

Boeing closed Tuesday at $216.26, up 0.08%. It has slumped 33% year to date, as the coronavirus has kept travelers at home. But it has soared 50% since Oct. 30 amid enthusiasm over Covid vaccines.

“Aircraft are sold globally, and the plane remains grounded in Europe and China, the two other major aviation markets,” Huey noted. “We’ve seen optimistic news out of Europe that the MAX is well on its way to returning to service and may receive authorization to resume operations by the end of the year.” But, “we are unsure of its progress in China,” he said.

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