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American Cancels 737 MAX Operations Until December

American Airlines has become the latest North American carrier to extend its cancellation of the beleaguered 737 max jet, removing it from schedules until December 3rd. In a press release on Sunday morning, the airline states that they remain confident that the plane will return to the skies this year.

All the major North American carriers have now pulled the MAX from their schedules until at least December.

The latest delay has caused American to cancel around 140 flights per day until Dec. 3. United Airlines have canceled 737 MAX flights until December 19th. Meanwhile, Southwest Airlines and Air Canada are parking the jets until early January 2020. The cancellation of MAX flights has cost airlines hundreds of millions of dollars.

Status of the Boeing 737 MAX

Boeing remains confident that it will gain regulatory approval of its MCAS software fixes in October. The U.S. FAA, however, has repeated that it is following a thorough process, not a prescribed timeline, for returning the MAX to service.

However, even when jets receive approval from the FAA, it is uncertain how that will affect non-US customers. In particular, the authorities of China (CAAC) and Europe (EASA) may take a longer look at the FAA’s outcome. For example, Norwegian CEO said to Reuters on Monday, “We are actually planning on not having the MAXes flying this year, in 2019”.

American Airlines CEO in an interview, speaking about safety concerns around the 737 MAX. Video: NBC Nightly News

Why is the 737 MAX Grounded?

The Boeing 737 MAX has been the subject of a worldwide grounding since March. This follows the deaths of 346 people in two fatal crashes within the space of five months. Preliminary results suggest that both planes were forced into a fatal dive by the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). This is the software created by Boeing to make the jet fly like an older-generation 737NG, thus meaning they would have the same type-rating. This was a move to reduce the cost of pilot training, as pilots could fly both planes without retraining.

Featured Image Source: Wikimedia Commons.

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