American Airlines is pushing out the Boeing 737 MAX return to service by another two months to June 2020. This comes as the aircraft is still undergoing intense scrutiny from global regulators.
American pushes out 737 MAX return
Previously, American Airlines expected the 737 MAX to return to service in April 2020. However, now, the airline has announced that it will alter schedules to delay the aircraft’s return to June 4, 2020. This will cause the airline to cancel approximately 140 flights per day.
Later this week, American will conduct a schedule change and notify passengers whose reservations were altered by this move. Due to the aircraft grounding, it is likely that some passengers will see canceled flights and have to reschedule their trips. However, American will work with customers to rebook them as necessary.
Not all canceled flights will have originally been scheduled as 737 MAX flights. To cover for the 737 MAX, American may have to draw out aircraft from other less profitable routes to fly more profitable or busier services.
American’s most recent fleet snapshot shows that the carrier had 24 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft in its fleet. While the count is dwarfed by the over 300 Boeing 737s and 200 Airbus A321 aircraft in the fleet, these 24 aircraft can put a strain on some routes. This is especially true on some longer routes that current aircraft cannot fly. As a result, American has to keep some older aircraft, such as the Boeing 757, for a longer time.
But, with this new schedule, the 737 MAX is entering service at the start of the busy northern summer season. For American Airlines, preserving the integrity of the airline’s schedule during the peak travel season is a big deal.
How will American return the 737 MAX to service?
Returning the 737 MAX to the skies is a delicate act. Very few aircraft, in recent memory, have received such intense public scrutiny. And, as the 737 MAX grounding continues and more issues are brought to the fore, airlines will have to engage customers to fly on the type.
In the press release, American highlighted a gradual return of the MAX to customer service. This will give the airline some time to ensure that all of the MAX aircraft receive the necessary upgrades per FAA and other regulatory agency guidelines.
Even before the 737 MAX flies commercially for American, the Dallas-based airline will run flights on the 737 MAX for American team members and invited guests.
Airlines are continuing to feel the crunch of the 737 MAX grounding. As the busy summer season draws nearer, airlines are anxiously eyeing whether or not the 737 MAX will be certified before then. If the type remains out of service for the summer, this could lead to reduced capacity across airline networks and lead to an increase in fares.
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