American Airlines Extends 737 MAX Cancelations Through April 2020

Filed Under: American

American Airlines has just updated their schedule, and with that we won’t see the 737 MAX return to the skies until April 7, 2020, at the earliest.

Timeline For 737 MAX Returning To Service

The 737 MAX has been grounded globally since March 2019. Boeing is working on finalizing the software fixes for the plane and once again getting it certified. About a month ago, Boeing stated that:

  • It’s possible that the resumption of 737 MAX deliveries to airline customers could begin in December, when the FAA issues an airworthiness directive rescinding the grounding order
  • They hope the 737 MAX will return to service in January, which will happen after final validation of the updated training requirements

Unfortunately for Boeing, that timeline has slipped in the meantime, and now it’s looking like February 2020 at the earliest for when the 737 MAX will once again be certified, and of course that can slip even further.

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.

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 April 7, 2020

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 April 7, 2020.

American’s 737 MAX cabin

As the airline explains in a press release, “once the aircraft is certified, American will run flights for American team members and invited guests only prior to April 7.”

Prior to this, American had canceled 737 MAX flights through March 5, so the timeline has slipped by more than an additional month.

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 April 7, 2020.

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.

Bottom Line

Per the latest guidance, the 737 MAX won’t be returning to service until at least April 7, 2020. In reality there’s not actually anything significant about that date, though. Rather that’s probably the very earliest they expect the plane to be back in service, and that also means the 737 MAX will have been grounded for one year at that point.

While I think it’s highly unlikely the MAX’s return to service is pushed up, I do think it’s highly likely it could be pushed back even further.

  1. Consider that the FAA will have to sign off the certification. I’m sure the FAA chief Steve Dickson will not want to go down in history as making a huge blunder should there be another incident with the 737 Max like the two that claimed over 300 lives. So, careful is the watchword, and cover every angle before any signature goes on the paperwork – which should have been the case since the start. Better yet would be to cancel the ill-fated 3 times reworked air frame and do a clean sheet design. But greed dominates.

  2. “As the airline explains in a press release, ‘once the aircraft is certified, American will run flights for American team members and invited guests only prior to April 7.’”

    Wow, who do you have to p!$$ off to get “invited” on one of those flights?

  3. Gene – I agree! They should just issue everyone who bought the plane a refund, and take the planes to the scrap yard. They should maybe revive the 757-200, despite being very fuel efficient – at least it didn’t crash. But I still wouldn’t trust Boeing as far as I can throw them…

  4. If airlines didn’t already have a clause in their purchase contracts centered on long-term safety-related groundings, you can bet they will going forward.

    AA bought 100 of these planes, and they will have been grounded for over a year by the time they’re allowed to fly again, if ever. AA should be able to seek damages, or amend the terms, or simply terminate the contract.

  5. I don’t want to risk my life on this plane, especially knowing the Boeing CEO is an A$$ (an understatement)! Also, it is a design problem, the engines are too big for the wings and that is why the software has to compensate for that flaw (has to help the airplane from over pitching).

    Well, the CEO is doing a good job of running Boeing down the ground!!

  6. Will Aadvantage miles have a multiplier when flying in the aircraft? I’m thinking bonus miles for risking butt in seat miles apply here

  7. It flew safely for almost 2 years. Thousands of flights.

    Now its a deathtrap?

    There is a huge misconnect here.

    I am actually surprised at the length of time this process is taking. Initially it was a single-redundancy problem then a pilot training experience problem but now the question is why it is taking so long. The delay is beginning to be of concern.

  8. @ Azamaraal – we have self-appointed experts who don’t know the first thing about aviation. The online mob knows lots about what kind of warm nuts are served in premium cabins, and are utterly ignorant about the technology of flight. That doesn’t stop them from pronouncements that the plane is a death trap, it should be scrapped, etc. Yeah, sure. The Wisdom Of Crowds.

    Personally, I’d fly on one tomorrow, if I didn’t have to suffer in coach. But what do I know – I’ve just been a pilot since the 1970s. Bloggers know better, I’m sure.

  9. The main issue now is that China is asking questions on recertification, which may or may not have something to do with the ongoing trade war. The max could be the safest plane in the world right now and trade politics could get in the way.

    Even if the FAA allow the plane back in to service, if China or any other certification body doesn’t then there’s no way any airline in the world would risk the bad press from restarting flights. I’d expect this to drag on and on.

  10. @graywings
    That’s not the point. I’d totally share Your opinion if this was a private jet, military jet, sports aircrsft or sports car. But this is a product intended, marketed and sold as a product for the global mass market and therefore it should be easy to fly and understand, both logically and intuitively, for anyone, no matter what education, culture, skills or experience he/ she has, not reqire any special or extra training and it has to be forgiving to any weather conditions, temperatures, turbulences, pilot errors, sloppy maintnance, maintenance errors and electronic malfunctions.
    And if You like it or not (i don’t), welcome to the globalized world – and the MAX is just not compatible with those criteria which can only lead to disaster!

  11. Hot take time – When 737 MAX flies again, it’s going to be the safest aircraft in the world.

    Because RIP Boeing if it falls out of the sky for a 3rd time.

  12. @steve

    Surely you jest?

    Some people cannot drive a car after hundreds of hours of training.

    And you expect that any joker off the street should be able to get into the left hand seat and fly this thing safely?

    I soloed in 1969 but I wouldn’t even consider flying a commercial flight without hundreds of hours of experience in type.

    Don’t worry – self flying aircraft are in the near future …..

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