United Airlines pushes 737 Max return into 2020.
The airline is keeping the Boeing aircraft off its schedule through Jan. 6, as the FAA prepares to release a draft report on two fatal crashes that grounded the jet model about seven months ago.
It’s looking unlikely that Boeing’s 737 Max will be back in the air this year.
United Airlines joined American Airlines and Southwest Airlines in pulling the Max from flight schedules into January. United said today the Max won’t be scheduled through Jan. 6. American pulled the jets through Jan. 16 and in July, Southwest removed the Max from its schedule until January.
Until regulators approve the plane to return to service, the grounding of the 737 Max translates into 50 to 100 additional flights a day that the carrier could be flying if it had the aircraft in its fleet. The total comes to more than 8,000 canceled United flights from October through early January.
There’s no official word yet from the FAA or other aviation authorities around the world about when they will clear the Max to fly. The FAA is expected to release a draft report today on two fatal crashes that led to the jet model being grounded in March.
Investigators have focused on new software designed to make 737 fly like its 40-year-old predecessors, even though the aircraft was redesigned beginning in 2011 with larger engines that changed the way the plane handles. Much of the focus has been on the certification process and how much government inspectors and regulators rely on aircraft makers to police themselves.
At the time of the grounding, United had expected to have 30 Max jets in its fleet by year-end. Once flights are allowed to resume, airlines will need weeks or even months to train pilots and prepare stored aircraft for commercial service.