Sept. 3 (UPI) — American Airlines said it’s extended its grounding of the Boeing 737 Max until December, when it will be on the schedule for the Christmas travel season — provided it’s been cleared to fly by then.
American said in an update it could resume operating the grounded aircraft on Dec. 3. The model has been grounded worldwide since March after two deadly crashes killed more than 300 people. The 737 Max 8 and Max 9 must be cleared by the Federal Aviation Administration before it can return to the skies. Boeing has said it’s working on installing a software fix.
American had previously planned to resume operating its fleet of 24 Max 8s for 140 daily flights by Thanksgiving. Many of those flights are now canceled or replaced with other aircraft.
“American Airlines remains confident that impending software updates to the Boeing 737 Max, along with the new training elements Boeing is developing in coordination with our union partners, will lead to re-certification of the aircraft this year,” the carrier said in a statement.
Boeing has stopped delivery of new 737 Max aircraft and is manufacturing the models at a slowed rate. If the planes don’t get federal clearance to resume operations this year, Boeing could suspend production altogether.
Last week, United Airlines similarly delayed plans to return its 14-plane Max 9 fleet until December. Southwest has removed the aircraft from its schedule until Jan. 5.