AMERICAN Airlines have pushed back the return date of the Boeing 737 Max, with it not returning to service until next year.
According to the airline, it plans to reintroduce the plane to the fleet from January 16.
The new date is six weeks later than American Airlines planned just last month, and the sixth time the airline has pushed back the plane’s return.
American Airlines said it will drop about 140 flights per day until mid-January because of the grounding, as regulators continue to extensively review proposed software changes to the grounded plane.
The airline said it believes the software updates will lead to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) “recertification of the aircraft later this year and resumption of commercial service in January 2020.”
The FAA said on Wednesday it “is following a thorough process, not a prescribed timeline, for returning the Boeing 737 Max to passenger service”.
What happens if your flight is cancelled?
American Airlines has reassured passengers that they will be put on another aircraft if they were due to fly on a Boeing Max 737.
They explained in a statement: “All customers who were booked previously on a MAX will be automatically accommodated on the same flights operated by a 737-800 with the same seat configuration.”
Passengers may also have to rebook their flight if it is cancelled.
They explained: “If a flight is cancelled and a customer chooses to not be rebooked, they may request a full refund.”
They added: “The FAA will lift the aircraft’s prohibition order when it is deemed safe to do so.”
An ongoing regulatory safety review means a key 737 MAX certification test flight is unlikely before November, Reuters reported.
EU regulator European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is said to be “not satisfied” with the proposed safety changes, according to The Times.
The best-selling 737 MAX has been grounded worldwide since mid-March while Boeing updates flight control software at the centre of two crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that together killed 346 people within a span of five months.
Other airlines that operate the Max in the US include Southwest, who have cancelled flights through January 5, and United Airlines, who have cancelled up until December 19.
The aircraft was banned from flying over UK airspace by the CAA in March this year.
Norwegian, TUI and Ryanair have all been affected by the grounding of the aircraft as a result.
TUI had five 737 Max 8 aircraft in operation and was due to begin flying a sixth, while Norwegian Airlines had 18 in its fleet that served London Gatwick, Manchester and Edinburgh.
Ryanair was due to receive a number of the aircraft this year and the delay has contributed to the airline cutting routes as well as jobs.
There were originally plans for the Max to be reintroduced by August, although this has been pushed back repeatedly.
Boeing are now being forced to store their planes in the company car park since hundreds of the aircraft were removed from service.
Concerned Brits can check if they are due to fly on a Boeing 737 Max plane next year.
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