American Airlines has just updated their schedule, and with that we won’t see the 737 MAX return until March 5, 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 March 5, 2020
American has updated their schedule as it pertains to the 737 MAX. As of yesterday American Airlines has removed the 737 MAX from their schedule for flights through March 5, 2020.
American’s 737 MAX cabin
As the airline explains in a press release, “once the aircraft is certified, American expects to run exhibition flights, or flights for American team members and invited guests only, prior to March 5.”
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 March 5, 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.
Per the latest guidance, the 737 MAX won’t be returning to service until at least March 5, 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.
So 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.