American Airlines has removed the Boeing 737 Max plane from its schedule until at least April, the latest delay for the beleaguered aircraft, the company said in a statement Thursday.
The move follows this week’s release of a damning Federal Aviation Administration risk assessment of the first of two fatal crashes that eventually led to the grounding of the plane around the world. At the time, the assessment had determined that at least 15 more crashes over the next 45 years would be likely if Boeing didn’t make design changes to the plane.
American Airlines said in a statement it was in “continuous contact” with regulators and Boeing, but they would extend the cancellation of the plane “based on the latest guidance.” The carrier estimates this will result in about 140 flights cancelled each day through April 6.
Southwest Airlines and United Airlines, which both count the 737 MAX in their fleet, have cancelled flights on the troubled jet until at least March, according to Southwest’s website and CBS News.
The 737 MAX has been grounded since March following two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed a total of 346 people.
Earlier this week, the FAA said it would not certify the planes as safe to fly before the end of the year, CBS News reported, an outcome Boeing had been pushing for.
"When the 737 Max is returned to service, it will be because the safety issues have been addressed and pilots have received all the training they need to safely operate the aircraft,” FAA Administrator Steve Dickson told the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, according to CBS News. “This process is not guided by a calendar or a schedule.”
For its part, Boeing said the company met with the FAA in what they called a “productive” session, according to NPR.
“Boeing reaffirmed with the FAA that safety is our top shared priority, and we committed to addressing all of the FAA's questions as they assess MAX certification and training requirements,” the company told NPR. “We will work with the FAA to support their requirements and their timeline as we work to safely return the Max to service in 2020."
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