24 March, 2019

American Airlines extend Boeing 737 Max cancellations till at least 24th April as Southwest sends its planes to long-term desert storage

One of the leading US airlines operating the Boeing 737 Max  aircraft, American Airlines has confirmed it will extend its 737 Max flight cancellation through to 24th April. The airline also recently started moving those grounded aircraft to warmer places such as Miami and Tulsa for longer term storage. 

American Airlines confirmed on Sunday that it had been forced to cancel around 90 flights each day because of the grounding of the 737 Max aircraft following two crashes of the type. The airline has a fleet of 24 jets and said it was making the announcement “to provide more certainty to our customers and team members and better protect our customers on other flights to their final destination.”.

American, Southwest and United Airlines are all said to have had meetings with Boeing over this weekend to review a software upgrade to the anti-stall system in the wake of the crashes.  The US regulator FAA is expected to mandate the changes by April according to Reuters. However, even if the software update is successful, it is unlikely to guarantee the type will immediately go back into operation as many civil aviation authorities around the world want to conduct their own test, rather than relying on the US FAA.

Southwest Airlines,  has a fleet of 34 737 Max aircraft and has also begun to ferry some of those aircraft to long term storage in Victorville, California, at the southwestern edge of the Mojave Desert. "The planes being in one place will be more efficient for performing the repetitive maintenance necessary for stationary aircraft, as well as any future software enhancements that need to take place," a spokesperson confirmed over the weekend.