United Airlines Joins American With 2020 Boeing 737 MAX Forecast

United Airlines has joined American Airlines in expecting its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to remain grounded until 2020. The news comes as the Boeing 737 grounding approaches its seventh month.

Boeing 737 MAX, United Airlines, Grounded
United Airlines now expects the Boeing 737 MAX to be back in the skies from early January. Photo: United Airlines

The Boeing 737 MAX was grounded back in March, with mid-September marking half a year since the grounding commenced. In this time we’ve seen numerous airlines continually pushing back their 737 MAX re-entry to service. Now, United Airlines has become the latest to push its 737 MAX re-entry to Service until 2020. As such, all of the American carriers will likely have their 737 MAX aircraft grounded for around nine months.

Some background

Thanks to the prevalence of social media and the internet, almost everybody is aware of the Boeing 737 MAX. The aircraft was grounded after a fatal Ethiopian Airlines accident. But why? The reason for the grounding was that the Ethiopian Airlines incident closely mirrored a similar Lion Air incident from the previous year.

The accidents were found to have been caused by a fault with the aircraft’s MCAS system. In both cases, the computer had trimmed the aircraft for a sharp pitch down. This, unfortunately, was not recoverable in either of the two occurrences. The two accidents combined led to the loss of 346 lives.

Boeing 737 MAX, United Airlines, Grounded
The Boeing 737 MAX has now been grounded for almost seven months. Photo: United Airlines

The 6th of January 2020

United Airlines, along with Southwest Airlines, plans to have the Boeing 737 MAX back in the sky running passenger flights by January 6th according to The Points Guy. However, American Airlines has taken a slightly more pessimistic approach. The American oneworld airline is now banking on the aircraft being out of action until at least January 16th, 2020.

As such, the aircraft are currently in storage across the United States. The southern desert regions of the United States make the perfect environment for storing planes, while others are dotted around here and there.

Boeing 737 MAX, United Airlines, Grounded
The 737 MAX has split scimitar wings tips. Photo: United Airlines

About the date, United Airlines told The Points Guy,

“Since the grounding of the Boeing MAX aircraft in March, United has gone to great lengths to minimize the impact on our customers’ travel plans. We’ve used spare aircraft and other creative solutions to help our customers, who had been scheduled to travel on one of our MAX aircraft, get where they are going.”

Now it just becomes a waiting game. There is the possibility that the Boeing 737 will become airborne again sooner. However, there is also the possibility that the grounding will drag on meaning that airlines have to revise their schedules once more. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time.

Would you fly onboard the Boeing 737 MAX when it is recertified? Why? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.