(Image source from: WKBN.com)
American Airlines is extending its cancellations of about 90 daily flights by over a month as the troubled 737 Max plane remains grounded by regulators.
The airlines on Sunday said it is extending the cancellations through June 5 from the earlier timeframe of April 24. In a statement, the airline acknowledged that the prolonged cancellations could bring disruption for some travelers.
The Boeing-made Max jets have been grounded in the United States and elsewhere since mid-March, following two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. Airlines that own them have been scrambling other planes to fill some Max flights while canceling others.
American Airlines Group Inc., the largest U.S. airline by revenue, has 24 Max jets in its fleet. The Ft. Worth, Texas-based airline said it is awaiting information from U.S. regulators and will contact customers affected by the cancellations with available re-bookings.
The United States Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing said last week the company needs more time to finish changes in a flight-control system suspected of playing a role in the two crashes. That means airlines could be forced to park their Max jets longer than they expected.
The airlines said on April 7 that by canceling the flights in advance, “we are able to provide better service to our customers with availability and re-booking options,” and to avoid last-minute flight disruptions.
American’s reservations staff will contact affected customers directly by email or phone, the airline said. “We know these cancellations and changes may affect some of our customers, and we are working to limit the impact to the smallest number of customers,” the statement said.
Boeing recently said that it will cut production of the Max jet, its best-selling plane, emphasizing the rising financial risk it undergoes the longer the airliner remains grounded.
Boeing said, starting in mid-April, it will cut production of the plane to 42 from 52 planes per month so it can focus on fixing the flight-control software that has been involved in the two crashes.
According to preliminary investigations, the deadly accidents in Indonesia and Ethiopia were triggered due to faulty sensor readings leading to the anti-stall system that pushed down the plane’s nose. Pilots of each plane struggled in vain to regain control over the automated system.
The crashes altogether claimed lives of 346 people. Boeing faces a growing number of lawsuits filed by families of the victims.
The announcement to cut production came after Boeing acknowledged that a second software issue has emerged that needs fixing on the Max.
By Sowmya Sangam