American Airlines extends Boeing 737 MAX cancellations until September

written by australianaviation.com.au | June 11, 2019
A file image of American Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 N314RH. (Nathan Coats/Commons Wikimedia)
A file image of American Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 N314RH. (Nathan Coats/Commons Wikimedia)

American Airlines has extended the cancellation of its Boeing 737 MAX-operated flights until September 3.

The updated schedules represented a 15-day extension from the airline’s previous cancellation period of the trouble-plagued aircraft until August 19 that was made in April.

“By extending the cancellations, our customers and team members can more reliably plan their upcoming travel on American,” American Airlines said in a statement on Sunday (US time).

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American said about 115 flights per day would be cancelled as a result of the global grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX fleet that has been in place since March.

The cancellations announced in April followed the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 with the loss of all 157 passengers and crew, and the earlier loss of Lion Air Flight 610 in October 2018 with all 189 aboard.

Anti-stall software used on the 737 MAX, known as Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), has been implicated by investigators as a factor in both accidents.

American Airlines said it has been in continuous contact with the key United States agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Transportation (DOT) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and was pleased with the progress that has been made so far.

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“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 soon,” American Airlines said.

Although airlines and regulators have expressed optimism over the prospects for getting the 737 MAX back in the air, regulators have not offered any indicative dates for when they expect the aircraft to resume flying.

In late May, Acting Administrator of the FAA Dan Elwell said that while a return to service could be a month or two away, no timetable had been set, and that if it took a year for sufficient confidence to be restored, then “”so be it”.

American Airlines said not all flights planned for the 737 MAX would be cancelled, with other aircraft to be used as substitutes.

Also, other flights not planned for the 737 MAX would be cancelled to allow the 737 MAX routes to be covered.

“Our goal is to minimize the impact to the smallest number of customers,” American Airlines said.

Customers whose flights are cancelled would be able to request a full refund.

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