Max’s return de­layed again

Car­rier takes jet off sched­ule un­til Jan­uary, doesn’t plan can­cel­la­tions

The Dallas Morning News - - FRONT PAGE - By KYLE ARNOLD Staff Writer [email protected]­las­

Amer­i­can Air­lines doesn’t ex­pect the grounded Boe­ing 737 Max to return to ser­vice this year, tak­ing the plane off the sched­ule un­til Jan. 16.

Amer­i­can Air­lines doesn’t ex­pect the Boe­ing 737 Max to return to ser­vice this year, tak­ing the plane off its sched­ule un­til Jan. 16.

But this time, the com­pany won’t have to can­cel any flights as the 737 Max con­tin­ues to wait to be cleared by the Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion to fly again. The Fort Worth­based air­line said flights sched­uled to be flown on 737 Max planes will be switched to other 737 mod­els.

In an interview last week, Amer­i­can Air­lines CEO Doug Parker said the car­rier built up­com­ing flight sched­ules with flex­i­bil­ity in the event that Boe­ing’s 737

Max wouldn’t be re­cer­ti­fied in time for De­cem­ber fly­ing.

“Amer­i­can Air­lines an­tic­i­pates that the im­pend­ing soft­ware up­dates to the Boe­ing 737

MAX will lead to re­cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the air­craft later this year and re­sump­tion of com­mer­cial ser­vice in Jan­uary 2020,” the com­pany said in a state­ment. “We are in con­tin­u­ous con­tact with the Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion and Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion.”

In the third quar­ter alone, Amer­i­can can­celed 9,475 flights, cost­ing the com­pany about $140 mil­lion.

Boe­ing said it ex­pects the plane back early in the fourth quar­ter, which started last week.

Al­lied Pilots As­so­ci­a­tion Pres­i­dent Eric Ferguson, who rep­re­sents Amer­i­can pilots, said there is no new in­for­ma­tion on the 737 Max that would in­di­cate when it will be cer­ti­fied to fly.

The union for flight at­ten­dants at Amer­i­can said it’s await­ing more in­for­ma­tion from the air­line, Boe­ing and the FAA be­fore it can de­ter­mine the 737 Max is safe to fly again.

“Our air­line crews and pas­sen­gers de­serve to have the high­est level of as­sur­ances prior to re­en­try into the air space,” said a state­ment from Lori Bas­sani, pres­i­dent of the As­so­ci­a­tion of Pro­fes

sional Flight At­ten­dants. “Our lives and pas­sen­gers’ lives de­pend on it and our lives are not for sale. Safety is al­ways our top pri­or­ity.”

Cus­tomers who have flights booked for Jan. 16 or later can see if their sched­uled air­craft is a 737 Max on

Dal­las­based South­west Air­lines an­nounced in July that it didn’t ex­pect to have the Max jets back in ser­vice un­til Jan. 5 and that it would need a few weeks af­ter it’s cer­ti­fied by the FAA to ready the planes to carry pas­sen­gers again.

The 737 Max has been grounded since March 13, af­ter a faulty sen­sor and run­away soft­ware sys­tem were blamed in the crash of com­mer­cial air­line flights in In­done­sia and Ethiopia. The crashes killed 346 peo­ple and sparked a world­wide ex­am­i­na­tion of the plane.

Amer­i­can Air­lines had 24 of the jets when it was grounded, but ex­pected to get an­other 16 through 2019, putting fur­ther strain on its fleet. South­west Air­lines owns 34 of the 737 Max air­craft but ex­pected to re­ceive about 40 more in 2019.

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