LONDON – American Airlines has announced, in yet another blow to the Boeing 737 MAX program, that cancellations to its schedules will extend to September 3 this year as the airplane’s grounding continues.
This comes following a previous cancellation extension made in April to August 19. Up to 115 flights per day will be canceled, as a result.
As a collective of operations, the 115 daily canceled flights represent around 1.5% of total flying each day this summer. In total, further 1,725 flights will be canceled due to such disruption, representing around seven months worth of grounding.
The carrier did, however, offer confidence into Boeing in a press statement.
“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,” the airline said.
“We have been in continuous contact with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Transportation (DOT), National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and other regulatory authorities, and we are pleased with the progress to date.”
American Airlines added that not all flights that were previously scheduled on a 737 MAX aircraft will be canceled, but will have aircraft changes.
The disruption has also led the carrier to admit that any flights not scheduled as a MAX flight may be canceled to cover already existing MAX flights to different aircraft.
In an answer to consumers, the airline said that its “goal is to minimize the impact to the smallest number of customers”.
This is obviously not good news for consumer confidence into the MAX. Although Boeing is working hard to ensure the software fixes are recertified as quickly as possible, it is still producing damage day-by-day.
May 2019 saw the manufacturer’s CEO, Dennis Muilenburg, reassure investors and consumers that returning the aircraft back to service “is the company’s number one focus.”
Admitting the company has a long road ahead to restoring public confidence in Boeing, the CEO added, “we’re going to do everything we can to make sure the MAX is safe to fly.”
Muilenburg remains hopeful that the FAA will exercise its usual due diligence and swiftly approve the recently-completed software fix Boeing has retrofitted for the aircraft.
Sources told Reuters that the FAA expects to approve the jet’s return to service as soon as later this month.