Against the backdrop of a second crash involving a Boeing 737 Max 8 and a grounding of that aircraft type in a number of international locales, one domestic carrier whose flights call on both St. Thomas and St. Croix operated daily flights to the territory over the last two days using the same aircraft.
According to flight tracking website Flight Aware, American Airlines flights from the Miami International Airport to St. Croix’s Henry E. Rohlsen Airport, and flights from Miami to St. Thomas’ Cyril E. King Airport were serviced by the Boeing 737 Max 8 jets.
On Monday and Tuesday, American Flight 1293 operated between Miami and St. Croix utilizing the Max 8 jet while the same jet type was used on Flight 943, a roundtrip between Miami and St. Thomas. American operates a second daily flight between Miami and St. Thomas, Flight 1391, with the larger Boeing 757 jet. United had no flights to the Virgin Islands on Monday, and on Tuesday serviced a Newark-St. Thomas flight with a Boeing 757 jet.
American is one of three carriers operating the Max 8 jets, and all 24 aircraft owned by the airline are run out of Miami. A total of 90 flights operate from Miami on routes across the United States, the Virgin Islands and the Caribbean. Southwest Airlines and United Airlines also operate a fleet of Boeing 737 Max 8 jets.
In a statement, American Airlines expressed its condolences to the families of those killed, and said it would continue to monitor the investigation into the crash.
“At this time, there are no facts on the cause of the accident other than news reports,” read the statement. “We have full confidence in the aircraft and our crew members, who are the best and most experienced in the industry.”
An investigation continues after a Max 8 crashed Sunday in Ethiopia, killing all 157 people on board. It is the second time in less than six months that one of planes has crashed within minutes of takeoff. A new Lion Air Boeing 737 Max 8 flight went down over the Java Sea last October, killing 189 people.
USA Today reported that records show federal aviation authorities in the United States received at least 11 reports concerning the Boeing 737 MAX 8 from professional aviators logged between April 2018 and December 2018. More than 30 countries, including China and European Union nations, have grounded the plane pending further investigation, but in the U.S. the FAA had not acted as of Wednesday morning.