United Airlines announced Friday the extension of the cancellation of Boeing 737 MAX flights for six additional weeks, until December 19.
Boeing said it was hoping to receive regulatory approval for the updated flight control software, at the center of two Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes that killed 346 people in October 2018 and March 2019, respectively. No date on the certification of the Boeing 737 MAX by the FFA to date, the uncertainty hangs over all the more that the airlines could put a month or two to train the pilots on the new software and it will also take time to prepare the planes in response to a commercial flight after several months of inactivity.
United Airlines, which was forced to withdraw its 14, Boeing 737 MAX from its flight program until November 3, extended the period by more than a month, causing 2,800 canceled flights in November and 1,700 on December 19. Of the other US airlines that operate the Boeing 737 MAX, Southwest Airlines has canceled its flights until January 5, 2020, while the American Airlines group has so far not planned its return in the air before early November.
Boeing, which has developed a software patch for its Boeing 737 MAX, expects planes to fly again early in the fourth quarter of 2019