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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

How airlines plan to keep travelers safe now that Boeing’s 737 Max is cleared for takeoff

North Texas-based American and Southwest airlines are looking at extensive training for pilots, and offering free flight changes for concerned travelers.

DALLAS — With Boeing’s 737 max cleared for takeoff by the Federal Aviation Administration, safety and consumer confidence are top of mind both for travelers and North Texas-based American and Southwest airlines. 

In a video posted to the Southwest Airlines website, Senior Vice President of Operations Alan Kasher said pilots will undergo extensive training on simulators then test flights without passengers before the 737 Max is back in action for commercial flights.

“We believe the Max is now amongst the most reviewed and tested commercial aircraft,” Kasher said. “We’ve been preparing for this day and we’re ready to complete all the required tasks over the next several months.”

American Airlines announced a similar plan before 737 Max commercial flights resume from Miami to New York Dec. 29. 

In a letter to employees, airline leadership said, “if our pilots, along with the APA, FAA and our safety teams are confident the aircraft is safe, we are confident in its return to service.” 

George Deines, a local traveler who books trips 40-60 times a year for business, told WFAA he flew on a 737 Max before they were grounded, following two crashes overseas that killed 346 people. 

RELATED: House panel's report blasts Boeing, FAA for crashes, seeks reforms

The news of the crashes came as a shock, but Deines said he wouldn’t hesitate to fly on one again. 

“I’m very comfortable with the safety protocols,” Deines said. “It’s not something that’s a concern to me right now.” 

For people that are concerned, both Southwest and American airlines said they’ll offer to put travelers on a different aircraft or give them the option of a full refund or credit for future travel.