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American Airlines cancels 737 MAX flights through September 3

American Airlines cancels 737 MAX flights through September 3 as FAA acting chief says it could take up to a YEAR before Boeing jet is ungrounded

  • Boeing 737 MAX aircraft has been grounded worldwide since March 
  • In October 2018, a Lion Air 737 MAX crashed in Indonesia 
  • In March, the same model crashed during a flight out of Ethiopia
  • In the two crashes, all 346 people on board were killed 

American Airlines has canceled all scheduled flights with Boeing 737 MAX jets through September 3, extending the grounding of its fleet after two crashes involving the same aircraft model killed 346 people.

The airline had previously canceled all 737 MAX flights through August 19 as it awaited recertification of the aircraft in the wake of the crashes.

In a statement, it said it ‘remains confident that impending software updates to the Boeing 737 MAX, along with the new training elements Boeing is developing in coordination with our union partners, will lead to recertification of the aircraft soon.’

The extension means that American Airlines will have canceled 115 flights since grounding its 14 737 MAX aircraft.

An American Airlines 737 MAX plane sits at the gate at LaGuardia Airport on March 13, 2019 in New York. American announced that it was canceling all MAX flights through September 3

It said it extended the timeframe to allow its clients and crews ‘to more reliably plan their upcoming travel.’

The crashes of a Lion Air 737 MAX in Indonesia in October 2018 and of an Ethiopian Airlines jet of the same model in March brought to light malfunctions in the plane’s MCAS anti-stall system.

Boeing is working to submit a modified version of the aircraft’s software and hopes to get the approval of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and its counterparts throughout the world.

Revelations of close ties between Boeing and the FAA in fielding the MAX led to a crisis of confidence among the public and airline pilots as well as some of the other agencies that regulate civil aviation.

The FAA’s acting chief, Dan Elwell, told reporters last month he does not have a specific timetable to unground the 737 MAX. 

Southwest Airlines Co and United Airlines have canceled flights into August because of the grounding of the 737 MAX.

Asked last month it is realistic that the 737 MAX could be flying again by August, Elwell declined to be specific.

‘If you said October I wouldn’t even say that, only because we haven’t finished determining exactly what the training requirements will be,’ Elwell said. 

‘If it takes a year to find everything we need to give us the confidence to lift the (grounding) order so be it.’

Global airlines that had rushed to buy the fuel-efficient, longer-range aircraft have since canceled flights and scrambled to cover routes that were previously flown by the MAX.

Boeing hopes the software upgrade and associated pilot training will add layers of protection to prevent erroneous data from triggering a system called MCAS, which was activated in both the planes before they crashed.