American Airlines extends cancellations of 737 Max flights

American Airlines extends cancellations of 737 Max flights

The grounding of the MAX prompted Boeing to trim its production of the plane and has forced it to store hundreds of new aircraft that can not be delivered until the Federal Aviation Administration and worldwide civil aviation regulators clear it for service. The aircraft has been grounded since March after two crashes within a five-month period.

American, which canceled 9,475 flights in the third quarter, said it expects to gradually resume MAX flights starting Jan. 16, adding that software updates could lead to the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) "recertification of the aircraft later this year and resumption of commercial service in January 2020".

American Airlines is pushing back the expected return of its Boeing 737 Max jets into next year and says the grounding of the planes cut its third-quarter pretax income by $140 million.

Among other US airlines that operate the MAX, Southwest Airlines Co has canceled flights through January 5 and United Airlines Holdings Inc until December 19.

"The FAA is following a thorough process, not a prescribed timeline, for returning the Boeing 737 Max to passenger service", the agency said in an email. Boeing is working on changes to flight-control software and computers.

In both instances, preliminary investigations pointed to issues with an anti-stall system known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), which was created to compensate for changes to the plane's design. "The FAA will lift the aircraft's prohibition order when it is deemed safe to do so". Both the FAA and Boeing are now subjects of numerous inquiries by congressional committees, the Transportation Department's Inspector General and the Justice Department's criminal division. Boeing has repeatedly said it hopes to resume flights in the fourth quarter, which began on October 1.

The airline said Wednesday that it expects to slowly bring the plane back into its schedule starting January 16.

It said on Tuesday that an unidentified business jet customer had ordered one 737 MAX jet, with monthly data suggesting it was converted to the MAX from another variant. Schedules for travelers with reservations January 7-15 will be updated on Sunday.

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