American Extends 737 MAX Cancelations Through August 2020

Filed Under: American

American Airlines has just announced that they are taking the 737 MAX out of the schedule for more than an additional two months, meaning the plane won’t be back in service during the upcoming peak summer travel season.

No one knows when the 737 MAX will return to the skies

The 737 MAX has been grounded globally since March 2019. While Boeing has repeatedly tried to push a timeline for the 737 MAX returning to service, this is in the hands of the FAA.

Given that the recertification process hasn’t been quite as smooth as Boeing was probably hoping, it’s anyone’s guess when the plane will return to the skies. It’s certainly no guarantee that the plane will be flying again commercially in 2020.

There’s no denying that the 737 MAX is facing a huge uphill battle, both in terms of Boeing getting the plane certified once again, and also in terms of customers being okay with flying the plane, given just how many horrible details have emerged regarding the process that got this plane certified in the first place.

American cancels 737 MAX flights through August 3, 2020

American has announced that they are updating their schedule as it pertains to the 737 MAX. American Airlines has removed the 737 MAX from their schedule for flights through August 18, 2020.

American’s 737 MAX cabin

Prior to this, American had canceled 737 MAX flights through June 3, so the timeline has slipped by more than two additional months.

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 about 140 flights per day being canceled.

While they had already canceled flights through June, we can expect additional flights through June to be canceled with a schedule change that will be loaded on February 23.

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, 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 August 18, 2020. In reality there’s not actually anything significant about that date, though.

Rather the airline just needs to be able to plan their schedule for the next several months, so they can load schedule changes with a bit of advance notice.

  1. These planes are simply done for. There is no software fix for an underlying structural problem that led to the need for the software changes in the first place.

  2. +1 @Flyer

    It’s like a crazy girlfriend/boyfriend you keep coming back to in hopes they change. They don’t. Cut your losses and move on.

    Airlines need to either jointly confront Boeing and tell them all bets are off and to start the NMA project to replace the 757/767. And in the interim order new generation A321’s.

    Enough is enough. This plane has serious problems, Being can’t fix it, The FAA can’t approve it, the public doesn’t trust it. Scrap it.

  3. [email protected] Flyer

    Hardware design mistakes cannot be corrected with software. Those big engines combined with mini-landing gear of the old 737 design just don’t fit under the wings in a position where balance and stability is not affected.

  4. Why is this news? No airline will use this plane until it is approved for flight. What to look at is the status with FAA and other government’s regulatory agencies. This plane may never fly again.

  5. Silly question perhaps but is there anyway Boeing can continue to the manufacture the non-Max (next generation) aircraft in the interim to give airlines added aircraft?

  6. Boeing’s management (including previous CEOs) rightfully deserves harsh criticism for various profit-first decisions that have undercut the culture of safety and excellence the once-proud company used to be known for. Boeing will continue to pay a price for these executive mistakes for years to come.

    That said, there is NO WAY that Boeing (and its airline customers) can walk away from existing 737 MAX contracts without causing both sides tons of pain. Boeing cannot simply wave a magic wand and produce a NMA without investing many more years of work and billions of dollars to develop it (not to mention the FAA certification process that will be more rigorous going forward). Airbus’ A320neo (aircraft family) production is already running at full speed, so they can’t just double output. Maybe A220 sales see an indirect boost, but it’s too small to fully replace the 737 MAX. And surely no one here would advocate Chinese aircraft as a replacement. So for the next 5 years, it’s the 737 MAX or nothing (for Boeing’s signed customers).

    Re “Hardware design mistakes cannot be corrected with software” comment above, that’s not really true. If it was, no one would/could ever ride a bicycle. A bicycle is completely unstable at rest, yet people’s brains compensate while they accelerate a bicycle up to speed (where it is more stable). But it takes training and experience to learn how (just like the pilots need).

  7. @ Luke. Your analysis makes perfect sense on the surface but I could argue another scenario.

    For larger carriers like AA and UA they have the ability to weather the years of development of an NMA after a scrap of the MAX. They can do this by ad hoc fleet additions (as Delta has done) in obtaining used aircraft and grabbing aircraft orders from partners who don’t yet want them (Again, like Delta has done with LATAM and taking some of their A350 orders off their hands). Further, they also have new aircraft coming from Airbus anyway given they diversified fleets some years ago.

    For smaller carriers like GOL in Brazil there is an immediate need and enough is enough. They banked their entire U.S. Florida expansion on the MAX and are now scraping together these routes with 737-800’s that need to refuel in Santo Domingo. But they don’t need that many aircraft. At this point (given we can truly imagine the MAX not flying at all in 2020) why can’t GOL look to diversify it’s fleet now with leased aircraft with the range needed. Yes, there will be time for crew training and working a new aircraft into the system – but it seems at this point a better long term choice to cut your losses and move on.

    Southwest is the only airline I can see that is really against the wall at first glance. Thought it’s not as bad as it looks. Your suggestion of the A220 is not a horrid one for them. They could start to serve some smaller markets and diversify their fleet. As well, they can look for second hand newer generation 737’s that come back on the market. Of course, they can also seek out a purchase of another smaller airline (Sun Country comes to mind) that will give them immediate growth and needed planes.

    Options do exist while waiting for an NMA.

  8. ALL airlines that operate this aircraft need to simply return these planes for a FULL refund and damages! The public DOES NOT trust Boeing or this plane and when or IF it ever operates again people will avoid it!

    Boeing might as well use this as a major tax loss and move on to develop a newer and safer aircraft that the public might fly on! Bring ALL jobs back to the US and no more outsourcing of jobs! The ONLY reason Boeing does this is to save money for CEO and high exec bonuses!

  9. Scrap every one of these deathtraps.

    The problems with the 2 separate flight control computers and lack of redundancy on this 55 year old airframe are beyond any solution.

    I will NEVER fly on a Max.

  10. “Silly question perhaps but is there anyway Boeing can continue to the manufacture the non-Max (next generation) aircraft in the interim to give airlines added aircraft?”

    No. Boeing and the airlines have looked into this. Basically, the supply pipeline for the NG 737s has dried up. Despite supposedly being a minimal change aircraft, the MAX has more than enough differences underneath the hood to essentially be a new aircraft in a great many way: cockpit, avionics, engine and associated systems, APU, the list could go on. Now toss in different interiors and non-mission critical systems and airline specified gear its simply too much. Even were it possible to retool for the NGs, by the time the supply and manufacturing chain got up to speed the MAX would be back flying (supposedly). Airlines interested in NGs in the near term can grab them on the second hand market, where there are plenty with sufficient life left to make it worth their while, assuming there’s enough of a paper trail on their maintenance records (ask Southwest about that one!).

    Personally, I’d simply like for Boeing to retool the NSA and/or the MMA that they’ve shown to airline customers but never received board authority to offer and shift priorities to that. The MAX is more or less done in the near term. Even if it does fly safely going forward, its record is tarnished forever. I’d rather see Boeing start with a clean sheet design (which they say they now are) instead of continuing to invest in the 737-MAXCasualties.

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