Flyers group challenges FAA approval of Boeing 737 MAX

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A flyers advocacy group has challenged the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) decision to lift the March 2019 order grounding the Boeing (NYSE:BA) 737 MAX airliner after two fatal crashes in five months that killed 346 people.

Flyers Rights and a group of flyers said on Tuesdy they had appealed the FAA’s Nov. 18 decision allowing flights to resume to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.  

Paul Hudson (NYSE:HUD), president of and one of fourindividuals who challenged the decision, said the FAA and Boeing declared the MAX safe based on “secret data and secret testing that is clearly legally inadequate.”

Hudson and some Democratic lawmakers have demanded the FAA disclose more underlying data in its review. The group is separately trying to force the FAA under the Freedom of Information Act to turn over documents related to 737 MAX technical fixes and testing.

Boeing did not immediately comment. The FAA declined to comment.

The FAA is requiring a series of software changes and new pilot training requirements before planes can return to service. The FAA has also approved an American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) training plan for pilots to resume 737 MAX flights, the agency and airline confirmed.

That approval clears the way for American to resume MAX flights starting Dec. 29 once it completes required tests and software upgrades to parked planes.

American plans to begin with a single daily MAX flight from Miami to New York’s LaGuardia airport. That will mark the return of the MAX to U.S. commercial service.

The appeals court has directed Flyers Rights to file a statement of issues by Jan. 6 and both sides to file legal motions by Jan. 21.