The three US carriers that use the Boeing 737 Max plane have postponed the return of the plane to their schedules.
On Friday, United Airlines said it would operate without the plane until September 4, while American Airlines said it would do so until August 17. Southwest Airlines said Thursday it would do the same until August 10.
The three airlines had previously said they expected to bring the 737 Max in June, but none had provided a formal update since Boeing said last month that it did not expect regulatory approval to fly the plane until June or July. Once approval is granted, the airlines will have to prepare the planes and train the pilots, which would take weeks.
United said Friday that its decision allowed it to plan the service during the high season of summer trips with greater certainty, even if regulators authorize 737 Max to fly earlier.
After reporting on quarterly earnings last month, Andrew Nocella, United’s commercial director, said the company did not expect to fly the Max this summer. United has 14 of the 737 Max aircraft in its fleet. There have been sixteen more for the airline, with 155 in order.
South west He said Thursday that he had chosen to extend his suspension of 737 Max flights in light of the “continuing uncertainty about the moment” of the return to the plane’s service. American said it would formally change its schedule at the end of this month and notify customers whose trips were affected.
The Max has been punished worldwide after two clashes, at the end of 2018 and early 2019, which killed a total of 346 people. An automatic anti-loss system called MCAS was identified as a common factor in disasters.
To fly again, the 737 Max must overcome a series of obstacles. Boeing will have to solve several problems in collaboration with the regulators, including the solution of the problems associated with MCAS and determine if the company needs to separate cable packages that could, in exceptional cases, short circuits and possibly cause catastrophic failures. Regulators will have to test the plane and determine how pilots should be trained to fly it.
The problems with the 737 Max have created an opportunity for Airbus, the European rival of Boeing, but Airbus has such a large order book that You cannot immediately benefit from the problems of Boeing.