Citing a need to plan for the busy summer travel season, American Airlines on Sunday said it will extend its cancellations of flights that use the troubled Boeing 737 Max plane through late August.
Previously, the airline had canceled flights until June.
Southwest Airlines last week also extended its use of the 737 Max until August.
“Based upon our ongoing work with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Boeing, we are highly confident that the MAX will be recertified prior to this time,” American Chairman and CEO Doug Parker and President Robert Isom said in a letter to airline employees. “But by extending our cancellations through the summer, we can plan more reliably for the peak travel season.”
The extension of the cancellations will last through August, 19.
The Boeing 737 Max has been grounded since March after an Ethiopian Airlines jet crashed, killing everyone on board. That was preceded by a crash of another 737 Max, this one involving Indonesia’s Lion Air, last October. The two incidents killed 346 people combined.
Extending the cancellations should not impact the company’s bottom line too harshly, however. The decision will result in an average of 115 flights per day being affected, or just 1.5% of American’s total daily flights.
American utilized 24 737 Max planes in its fleet.
The causes of the crashes are still being investigated, but it is believed to have been a flaw in the automatic safety feature that may have forced the nose of each plane lower after onboard computers incorrectly sensed the plane was in danger of going into a stall.
Boeing officials and the FAA said they are working on an upgrade of the 737 Max software that controls the safety features.
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