American Airlines’ pilots will begin 737 Max “special training” in November in preparation for the jet’s return to service, with the company’s entire complement of 737 pilots expected to complete the reviews by January 2021.

Union Allied Pilots Association, which represents American’s cockpit crews, disclosed the time frame in a message to members on 21 September, a development coming as Boeing works to get the jet back in the skies.

American Max

American Airlines’ 737 Max jets.

Boeing has said it expects the Federal Aviation Administration will certificate the Max, which has been grounded since March 2019, in the fourth quarter of this year.

Prior to flying the jet, American’s pilots must complete “a distance-learning training module”, which will take about 1h 40min to complete. They must also complete about 3h of flight-simulator time, including a 1h briefing and 2h of simulated flying, according to APA’s message.

The union expects that about 1,700 of American’s pilots will complete the training in November.

Though training dates are set, APA has raised concern with the Max’s certification timeline.

In a statement, it warns of a “last-minute rush to push the Max back into service and put pressure on the process before all things have been completely vetted”.

The union notes that the Joint Operations Evaluation Board – a panel of pilots and regulators from the Federal Aviation Administration and other countries’ oversight bodies – has not completed its pilot training assessment.

Additionally, the industry will need time to review updated pilot training requirements published by the FAA’s Flight Standardisation Board, APA says.

“Clearly this is the cart before the horse,” says the union. “Rushing the final phase will only undermine the process and confidence in the Max’s return to service.”