According to reporter Shannon Stapleton of Reuters, American Airlines announced today (April 14) that it will cancel all of its flights using the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft through August 19 as the fleet remains grounded.
The airline indicated that the cancellations will affect approximately 115 flights daily, or about 1.5 percent of American’s total flights. However, the cancellations will take place during the airline’s busy summer travel period.
The actions taken by American Airlines and other airlines around the world occurred after the 737 MAX 8’s anti-stall software was implicated in the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 on March 10 that killed 157 people.
It’s unclear when the 737 MAX, which has been grounded by some nations since mid-March (and in the U.S. by the Federal Aviation Administration on April 4), will return. The aircraft’s manufacturer, Boeing, has slowed production on the airplane and stopped deliveries as it seeks to develop a fix for what is believed to be an error in the aircraft’s anti-stall software.
On April 12, Southwest Airlines removed its fleet of 737 MAX aircraft from its schedule through August 5. United AIrlines also canceled flights of its 737 MAX aircraft through June 5.
Earlier today, American Airlines CEO Doug Parker and President Robert Isom sent the following to American employees: “We remain confident that the impending software updates, along with the new training elements Boeing is developing for the MAX, will lead to recertification of the aircraft soon.”
By cancelling flights through August 19, Parker wrote to employees that the move will help the airline plan for the year’s peak travel season.
According to the FAA, there are approximately 350 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft in operation worldwide, belonging to 54 operators. However, Boeing had booked orders for more than 4,700 737 MAX 8 aircraft before the crashes and the subsequent grounding of the airplanes
Meanwhile, Boeing stated on April 11, that it has safely completed 96 flights of the 737 MAX with updated software. As major airlines continue to extend cancellations, Boeing is likely to submit its improved software to the FAA in the near future.
FreightWaves will continue to update the saga of the Boeing 737 MAX as new developments occur.