Max’s return delayed again
Carrier takes jet off schedule until January, doesn’t plan cancellations
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 Aa.com.
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.