By Tracy Rucinski
CHICAGO (Reuters) – United Airlines Chief Executive Oscar Munoz promised on Wednesday to reaccommodate any passengers concerned about flying Boeing Co’s 737 MAX jets once regulators deem the aircraft safe to fly again.
“We will make it very transparent that you are on that type of aircraft and if people need any kind of adjustments we will absolutely re-book them in any way, shape or form,” Munoz told reporters after the airline’s annual shareholders’ meeting.
Munoz said the flying public’s perception of the 737 MAX jets’ safety will be critical to the airline’s strategy on when and how it returns the aircraft to service, noting that U.S. Federal Aviation Administration approval will be only the first step of the process.
The No. 3 U.S. airline by passenger traffic, which trades under parent company United Continental Holdings Inc, operates 14 MAX jets and has dozens more on order.
Boeing’s newest narrowbody model was grounded worldwide in March following a deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash just months after a similar crash on Lion Air in Indonesia that together killed 346 people.
United, along with U.S. MAX operators American Airlines Group Inc and Southwest Airlines Co, has been forced to cancel flights and use other aircraft on routes previously flown with its 14 MAX jets.
Munoz’s comments come as global regulators gather in Fort Worth, Texas, for a meeting on Thursday with the FAA to discuss the path forward for the grounded jets.
(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski in Chicago; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Matthew Lewis)