American Airlines pushes back return of B737 MAX to service until April
AMERICAN Airlines is delaying scheduling passengers on its Boeing 737 MAX jetliners until April 7, lumping it with extra expenses and capacity constraints
AMERICAN Airlines is delaying scheduling passengers on its Boeing 737 MAX jetliners until April 7, lumping it with extra expenses and capacity constraints.
The news comes after Federal Aviation Administration head Stephen Dickson testified before Congress that the agency won't rush a review of corrective steps taken by manufacturer Boeing Co and a final airworthiness recertification for the MAX.
The administrator also said about a dozen technical milestones must still be met before any approval is granted, pushing back completion of the process into 2020, American Shipper reported.
Reuters reported that the F has expressed displeasure with Boeing about continuing to raise unrealistic public expectations for the plane's return to service.
The F and other aviation authorities grounded the 737 MAX in March after two crashes killed 346 people.
American has 24 idle MAX aircraft and a further 76 on order. In October, the Dallas-based carrier said it expects the cancellations of MAX flights to negatively impact its full-year pre-tax income by $540 million.
The latest schedule revision will likely result in the cancellation of 140 non-MAX flights as airline managers shuffle aircraft to cover the MAX routes with a different planes to minimise the number of customers affected, American said.
Once the F gives the go-ahead to resume flights, airlines will require several weeks to bring parked planes up to proper maintenance standards, train pilots on the new software and work the planes into their schedules. Airlines have said they will gradually phase in B737 MAX aircraft over several weeks once they start flying.
In a related development, Southwest Airlines said it reached an agreement with Boeing on compensation for a portion of damages associated with the aircrafts' grounding and will share proceeds with its employees. Further compensation talks with Boeing are ongoing.
Southwest said it expects to give employees about $125 million from the Boeing funds.
Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly said the airline probably will need to postpone the date for the MAX return to service, according to Reuters. It currently has removed the MAX from its flight schedule through March 6. The carrier operates an all-B737 narrow-body fleet.