MIAMI — American Airlines extended its Boeing 737 MAX cancellations until April 7, 2020. Before the 737 MAX is brought back to service, the airline plans to run trial flights as long as there are no further delays to the plane’s official return into service.
With this new setback, the 737 MAX grounding saga continues. The grounding continues to strengthen its position as the longest grounding of a US-built commercial airliner in history.
Previously, it was the McDonnell Douglas DC-10, about 40 years ago, following the American Airlines Flight 191 crash, which happened shortly after take-off for Chicago O’Hare, killing 271 people on board, as well as two people on the ground.
American Airlines have also stated that it is in close contact with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Boeing, on when the 737 MAX will return to service. The airline has based this most recent schedule change on recent communications with them.
The 737 MAX groundings come after two fatal crashes in October 2018 (Lion Air flight 610) and in March 2019 (Ethiopian Airlines flight 302), which led to one of the biggest scandals in commercial aviation history.
The Lion Air crash was also the most fatal accident in the 737’s history, resulting in 189 fatalities. The Ethiopian crash also saw 157 passengers and crew onboard being killed. In total, the two 737 MAX crashes took 346 lives.
Boeing continues to produce more 737 MAXs but is storing them until they can be delivered to various airlines around the world. The manufacturer has cut the 737 MAX production rate from 52 to 42 per month to compensate for this.
The 737 MAX crisis is far from over. If the plane does not return to service during the first quarter of 2020, it will pass the one-year anniversary of complete grounding.