American Airlines pushes Boeing 737 MAX return deeper into 2020

Dec 12, 2019

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American Airlines will not return the Boeing 737 MAX to its schedules until April, as re-certification of the Boeing airplane remains elusive.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier has removed the MAX for another month through April 7, American said December 12th. The date remains tentative pending re-certification of the jet by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

The April date is the latest of the three U.S. MAX operators, which also includes Southwest Airlines and United Airlines, and more than a year after the FAA grounded the aircraft on March 13, 2019.

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This rendering shows a Boeing 737-MAX 8 (Image courtesy of Boeing)
This rendering shows a Boeing 737-MAX 8 (Image courtesy of Boeing)


Returning the MAX to the air remains elusive. While Boeing’s official expectation is that the jet will be re-certified by year-end and can return to commercial service in January, FAA administrator Steve Dickson told CNBC Wednesday that he does not expect the process to be complete this year.

The Air Current has reported that regulators, airlines and industry stakeholders do not expect the MAX to be re-certified before mid-February.

Various steps must be met before the FAA is willing to OK the MAX for commercial service. Among those are both an evaluation of the systems and of how pilots navigate the systems in a simulator, plus a final certification flight with the regulator onboard.

Related: Boeing 737 MAX will stay grounded into 2020

Airlines have cancelled flights and curtailed planned growth as a result of the MAX grounding. For example, American has attributed the suspension of service between New York John F. Kennedy (JFK) and Cleveland (CLE), Las Vegas (LAS), Philadelphia (PHL) and Toronto Pearson (YYZ) through at the latest April to the grounding.

American operated 24 737 MAX 8 when the aircraft was suspended in March. The airline hopes to have up to 50 of the jets in its fleet by the end of 2020.

Featured image courtesy of American Airlines.

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