Two of the major U.S. airlines that fly Boeing Co.’s grounded 737 Max have taken the plane off their schedules until early November, the latest sign that the jet may not resume commercial service this year.
American Airlines Group Inc. adjusted its schedule for the fifth time to accommodate the Max’s lengthening absence since its March 13 grounding. The carrier’s decision to keep the jet off its schedule through Nov. 2 means about 115 daily flights will be canceled, American said in a statement Sunday.
United Airlines Holdings Inc. said Friday it would keep its schedule Max-free through Nov. 3, requiring the cancellation of 8,200 flights from July onward. Total flights affected will increase in the last half of the year because the airline had expected to expand its 14-jet Max fleet to 30 by then.
The largest 737 Max operator, Southwest Airlines Co., with 34 of the jets, last month extended its cancellations through Oct. 1, affecting about 150 daily flights.
American said it remained confident that planned software updates for the Max, coupled with training updates being developed by Boeing, “will lead to re-certification of the aircraft this year.”
American had planned to be flying 40 Max planes by the end of the year, up from its current 24. A spokeswoman said Friday the Fort Worth-based carrier saw the roughly 115 daily cancellations from the grounding holding constant through November.
Aviation regulators grounded the newest 737 after two crashes involving the plane killed 346 people. On June 26, the Federal Aviation Administration disclosed a separate software glitch it had found during simulator testing. That issue requires additional work by Boeing and is further delaying the Max’s return to service.
Whenever the Max is cleared to fly, U.S. airlines have said they will need several weeks or even months to transition the jets back into their operations.