American Airlines extends Boeing 737 MAX cancellations through August 19

Lester Mason
April 15, 2019

Southwest Airlines announced on Thursday that it has modified its schedule to account for the 737 MAX aircraft being grounded into the first week of August.

Carriers that have used the aircraft since it went into service two years ago have had to rethink their flight plans since alarms were raised over its safety in the wake of two fatal crashes.

American explained on its website that not all flights previously scheduled on a MAX would be cancelled, because the airline planned to use other aircraft for some flights.

The US grounded Boeing's 737 MAX plane in mid-March after two deadly plane crashes. Planes run fullest during June, July and August, when airlines earn the most revenue per available seat mile, according to U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Low-priced carrier Southwest, which unlike its rivals only flies Boeing 737s, had estimated $150 million in lost revenue between February 20 and March 31 alone due to MAX cancellations and other factors.

"Based upon our ongoing work with the Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing, we are highly confident that the MAX will be recertified prior to this time", the statement said. Airline officials say by extending cancellations through the summer they can plan more reliably for the peak travel season.

This no longer appears to be the case as preliminary reports from the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 confirm that the Boeing 737 MAX was to blame for the crash that killed all 157 on board.

American's cancellations represent 1.5 per cent of its total flights each day of the summer.

Once the aircraft is recertified, which the executives said they expect will happen "soon", American plans to initially bring its MAX aircraft back on line as spares to supplement its operation as needed during the summer.

The grounding of Boeing Co's fuel-efficient, single-aisle workhorse after two fatal crashes is biting into US airlines' Northern Hemisphere spring and summer schedules, threatening to disarm them in their seasonal war for profits.

American Airlines passengers on Sunday took to Twitter to post complaints about cancelled flights impacting on their holidays, speaking engagements and travel to funerals, and noted problems re-booking flights.

"We're not denying that it's going to be a challenge for us", American spokesman Ross Feinstein said.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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