American Airlines extends Boeing 737 Max flight cancellations

Nellie Chapman
April 15, 2019

Federal regulators on Friday briefed pilots and U.S. airlines on progress in restoring Boeing's grounded 737 Max to flight.

In a letter to employees, American CEO Doug Parker and President Robert Isom said the new cancellations represent 1.5% of its total flights each day of the busy summer travel season.

A similar crash involving the same Boeing Lion Air model plane crashed into the waters off Indonesia last October, killing all 189 on board.

United Airlines, with 14 MAX jets, has largely avoided cancellations by servicing MAX routes with larger 777 or 787 aircraft, but the airline president, Scott Kirby, warned last week that the strategy was costing it money and could not go on forever.

"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.

The airline's CEO Doug Parker and President Robert Isom issued a statement saying it would cancel 115 flights daily through August 19, representing approximately 1.5 of the airlines' flying each day during the summer. "We have been in continuous contact with the FAA, Department of Transportation, National Transportation Safety Board, other regulatory authorities and are pleased with the progress so far".

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The plane's grounding has also threatened the USA summer travel season, with some airlines removing the 737 from their schedules through August and canceling a number of scheduled flights.

Currently, Boeing has pilots from American Airlines testing a software update to the MCAS system in the simulator at the Boeing facility in Renton, Washington. Investigators have concluded that an automatic anti-stalling feature known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System ― which can point the plane's nose automatically downward in certain rare but risky situations ― played a roll in both crashes.

The FAA initially said Boeing would complete the software fix "no later than April".

Boeing is expected to submit a software update to the FAA in the next few weeks for review and possibly approval.

American has 24 MAX jets and had previously planned to cancel MAX flights through early June.

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