United Airlines Extends Boeing 737 MAX Grounding Until March

United Airlines has joined Southwest and American Airlines in grounding the Boeing 737 until March. The announcement was made as the aircraft’s grounding enters its ninth month. In total, all three American carriers have now grounded the aircraft for around a year.

United Airlines, Boeing 737 MAX, March
United Airlines has extended its Boeing 737 MAX grounding until March 2020. Photo: United

The Boeing 737 was first grounded back in March following a second fatal crash involving the type in the space of six months. While the FAA and Boeing were initially hesitant to ground the aircraft, President Trump eventually waded in. Boeing is now working on getting a software fix approved on the aircraft. This would allow the aircraft to renter service sometime in January for most carriers.

What’s the latest from United?

United has now removed the Boeing 737 MAX from its schedules until the 4th of March, 2020. This will take the aircraft to a grounding of just under a year. According to The Points Guy, around 3,500 extra flights will be canceled as a result of the action.

This equates to approximately 93 flights per day. This is not the first time that the 737 MAX’s reentry has been pushed back. In fact, since the grounding was first announced, it has been slowly pushed back in small steps.

United Airlines, Boeing 737 MAX, March
The cabin of the airline’s 737 MAX aircraft. Photo: United

No compulsory MAX flights

United’s CEO, Oscar Munoz is more than aware that the popularity of the 737 MAX has been cut. This could potentially be due to the increasing usage of social media apps within society. What may have previously filled a slot on the 10 O’Clock news, is now right there, in everybody’s hands.

Earlier in November Mr Munoz told Simple Flying in London that the airline would not force any passengers to fly on the aircraft once it re-enters service. United Airlines will make it absolutely clear to passengers if they will be flying on the MAX. The airline will also let passengers booked on the 737 MAX to rebook for free if they suddenly get cold feet about their flights.

In addition to all of the above, Mr Munoz has also pledged to be onboard the very first flight that the company operates with the Boeing 737 MAX. The thinking is that he wouldn’t get on the plane if he wasn’t convinced that it was safe.

United Airlines, Boeing 737 MAX, March
The airline won’t force any passengers to fly on the 737 MAX. Photo: United

The exact timeline of the Boeing 737 MAX’s return to service is currently unknown. However, Boeing was recently talking about completing the re-certification in the coming weeks. This would allow the manufacturer to resume deliveries in December, with a view to returning the aircraft to service in January.

Simple Flying has contacted United Airlines for comment.

Would you fly on United’s Boeing 737 MAX? Let us know why or why not in the comments below.