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Brazilian airline GOL to resume Boeing 737 MAX passenger flights on Wednesday

For the first time since March 2019, Boeing's 737 MAX jet will be used this week to carry paying passengers.

WASHINGTON — Brazil's GOL airline said on Monday that this week it will become the first carrier to resume Boeing 737 MAX flights with paying passengers. The news comes as Boeing reports more cancellations for the long-grounded jet. 

GOL said the aircraft will initially be used on routes to and from its São Paulo hub, starting Wednesday, Dec. 9. The airline said it expects all seven Boeing 737 MAX planes in its fleet to be cleared to return to operation by the end of December. 

GOL said 140 of its pilots have participated in new training using a MAX simulator in the United States and the company completed "a rigorous series of technical flights, which exceeded the requirements set out by aviation GOL agencies." 

Wednesday's flight will be the first time a Boeing 737 MAX has been used since the aircraft was grounded in March 2019 after the second of two crashes that together killed 346 people. 

Boeing said orders for 88 of the 737 MAX planes were canceled in November, pushing the total to 536 for the year.

Last month, the Federal Aviation Administration approved changes — mainly in flight-control software — that will allow airlines to resume flying the plane.

American Airlines is currently planning the first U.S. flight for Dec. 29 from Miami to New York. Last week, the airline invited press reporters and photographers on board one of the planes to demonstrate its confidence in the plane's safety. 

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American flew journalists from Dallas to the airline's maintenance center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where crews explained how they are bringing the planes out of storage and making FAA-required changes.

American is likely to be the only U.S. carrier using the MAX for several weeks. United Airlines expects to put the plane back in its schedule during the first quarter of next year, with Southwest following in the second quarter.  

With its previously best-selling plane grounded, Boeing has lost $3.5 billion so far this year and announced deep jobs cuts to reduce costs. Boeing expects the pandemic to cast a pall over demand for airline jets for several years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.