Major U.S. airlines have been forced to cancel hundreds of flights as a result of the grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX fleet after two accidents in the past six months, one in Indonesia and the other in Ethiopia, killing a total of nearly 350 people. American Airlines reported it is grounding all 737 MAX flights through August 19. The decision amounts to 115 cancelled flights each day during the summer.
“…by extending our cancellations through the summer, we can plan more reliably for the peak travel season and provide confidence to our customers and team members when it comes to their travel plans,” said a statement from American’s chairman and CEO Doug Parker and president Robert Isom. “We remain confident that the impending software updates, along with the new training elements Boeing is developing for the Max, will lead to recertification of the aircraft soon. We have been in continuous contact with the FAA, Department of Transportation (DOT), National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), [and] other regulatory authorities, and are pleased with the progress so far.” In the meantime, the company’s reservations team is finding alternatives for customers booked on 737 MAX flights this summer.
Reuters reported that United expects the grounded 737s to return to service this summer. The company currently only has 14 MAX airplanes in its fleet, but was expecting another 16 to be delivered this year. United still expects to receive some of those airplanes before the end of the year.