American Airlines extends Boeing 737 Max cancellations
American Airlines announced on Sunday it will be extending cancellations of the Boeing 737 Max from its flight schedule through November 2 — much longer than expected. The Boeing 737 Max has been grounded worldwide since March.
The Boeing 737 was grounded worldwide following the deadly crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 in October and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in March. Boeing has said the airplane is currently undergoing a flight-control software update, one that has yet to be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The announcement Sunday marked the fifth time that American Airlines has pushed back the expected time that the Max would resume flying. American Airlines previously announced March 24 that it was extending its cancellations through April 24.
The airline said approximately 115 flights per day will be canceled through Nov. 2. American Airlines has 24 737 Max 8 jets.
In a statement released Sunday on their website, American Airline wrote, “American Airlines remains confident that impending software updates to the Boeing 737 MAX, along with the new training elements Boeing is developing in coordination with our union partners, will lead to recertification of the aircraft this year. We are in continuous contact with… regulatory authorities.”
In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Delta Airlines CEO Ed Bastian said, “I expect it’s going to take longer than people expect” before the Max is certified to fly again. He said he could not venture a guess as to when that might occur.
The FAA has said it is following a thorough process but has no timetable for when the recertification will be completed.
The delay of the Max’s return to flight has started to affect Boeing’s bottom line. Last week, CBS News reported orders for all 737 models — including the Max — fell by more than half through June, according to figures released by Boeing. Additionally, Boeing lost a major deal for Max jets when Flyadeal reversed an earlier plan to buy 50 Boeing 737 Max jets valued at $5.9 billion. The Saudi Arabian budget airline instead chose to purchase Airbus jets.
The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that fixing the 737 Max’s faulty flight-control software and completing other steps to start carrying passengers will likely stretch into 2020. Unnamed officials at the FAA and pilot-union leaders were quoted as saying that no firm timeline has been established but one scenario anticipates the plane could return to the air in January 2020.