United Airlines has now canceled 2,400 flights in June and July as the Boeing 737 MAX remains grounded.
The American airline, which has 14 Boeing 737 MAX planes, follows Southwest and American in removing 737 MAX flights from its summer schedule. According to CNBC, United Airlines latest cancellations cover 1,290 flights up until August 3rd, 2019. The total cancellations for the airline now number well over 3,000.
Returning the 737 MAX to service
Despite the cancellations, United Airlines appears supportive of Boeing’s efforts to return the 737 MAX to the air. As per CBS Chicago, CEO Oscar Munoz spoke after a United Airlines annual shareholders meeting this week. He committed to flying on United’s first Boeing 737 MAX flight once the aircraft is clear for use again.
United also plans to educate customers and employees on the safety of the 737 MAX once it resumes flights. However, Munoz has also said United Airlines will rebook passengers who don’t want to make their journeys via a Boeing 737 MAX.
United’s latest cancellations come in the same week that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says airlines don’t need to plan for a scenario where Boeing 737 MAX hasn’t returned to service by fall or later. Phil LeBeau of CNBC asked FAA acting administrator Daniel Elwell this question and he answered:
“No, they don’t need to make any changes to their plans.”
When will the 737 MAX fly again?
The FAA met this week with aviation regulators from around the globe to discuss the 737 MAX. On when the planes might fly again, Elwell says:
“It definitely could be a month, two months, it’s all determined by what we find in our analysis of [Boeing’s] application, and we’re pretty confident that the application is in good shape.”
He also said there is no set timetable for approving Boeing’s changes to the 737 MAX which include a software update and new pilot training.
The FAA could be the first regulator to approve the Boeing 737 MAX to fly again with other global regulators conducting their own assessments and formulating their decisions.
American Airlines CEO Doug Parker told NBC, according to Bloomberg, he too would be among the first to travel in his carrier’s 737 MAX once airworthy. And, once the 737 MAX is airworthy and back in-service Parker says:
“I know that if that’s the case, the airplane’s 100% safe, as will most of our customers. And over time, others will see that and come to the same conclusion.”
Parker too commented on the upcoming challenge airlines will face in reassuring passengers, once regulators approve the 737 MAX again.
American Airlines has 24 Boeing 737 MAX in its fleet with more on order with Boeing. It has canceled its 737 MAX flights until August 19, 2019.