American Airlines has just updated their schedule, and with that we won’t see the 737 MAX return until mid-January of 2020 at the earliest.
Timeline For 737 MAX Returning To Service
While we always hear optimistic timelines for when that could happen, the reality is that it’s anyone’s guess when the plane will be back in the sky. Furthermore, just because the FAA certifies the plane doesn’t mean that other global aviation authorities will.
So even though progress is being made, it does seem like Boeing and airlines operating the 737 MAX have an uphill battle, both in terms of regulatory approval and passenger confidence.
American Cancels 737 MAX Flights Through January 2020
Today American has updated their schedule as it pertains to the 737 MAX. As of today American Airlines has removed the 737 MAX from their schedule for flights through January 15, 2020.
American’s 737 MAX cabin
As the airline explains in a press release, they anticipate “that the impending software updates to the Boeing 737 MAX will lead to recertification of the aircraft later this year and resumption of commercial service in January 2020.”
What Flights Will Be Canceled?
American is extending cancelations with the plane in order to more reliably plan their schedule over the coming months. With this, we can expect that approximately 140 flights per day will be canceled through December 3, 2019.
It’s worth understanding, however, that not all flights that were supposed to be operated by the 737 MAX will be canceled, and conversely, some flights not operated by the 737 MAX may be canceled.
That’s because American is reworking their schedule somewhat, so we may see situations where they put a 737-800 (or another aircraft) on a flight that was previously scheduled to be operated by a 737 MAX. That also means that there will be flights that were supposed to be operated by other planes that will be canceled so the plane can be used on a high priority 737 MAX route.
As American describes the timeline now:
- Customers booked on a MAX through January 6: All customers who were booked previously on a MAX will be automatically accommodated on the same flights operated by a 737-800 with the same seat configuration. No additional rebooking will be required.
- Customers booked on a MAX from January 7 through January 15: The majority of these customers will be accommodated on the same flight operated by a different aircraft type, which may include a 737-800 or an Airbus aircraft. Beginning Oct. 13, American’s Reservations and Sales team will contact affected customers who are impacted by any potential flight cancellations. Customers who booked through a travel agent will be contacted by their agency directly.
- Beginning January 16: American expects to slowly phase in the MAX for commercial service and will increase flying on the aircraft throughout the month and into February.
The 737 MAX won’t be making a return to American Airlines in 2019, as the plane has been removed in the schedule through mid-January 2020. Even that is likely optimistic, though, and it’s likely we’ll see yet another delay. They seem to be taking the plane out of the schedule about a month at a time.