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Photo: Southwest Airlines

Southwest, American extend MAX cancellations

Both airlines have decided to extend the flight cancellations prompted by the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX 8.

Both Southwest and American Airlines have extended their cancellations of Boeing 737 MAX 8 operations into August, eating much further into the peak holiday season.

American made the announcement on Sunday, extending an earlier target of early June for Boeing’s proposed changes to the 737 MAX being approved for operations with the aircraft type to resume. Boeing said last week it had made 96 test flights with updated software.

American now says that around 115 flights per day will be cancelled until mid-August, which is about 1.5% of its total flying power this summer.

The Dallas-Fort Worth-based carrier has 24 MAXs in its fleet. Some of the 115 daily cancellations will not be MAX flights but will be needed to transfer other aircraft to MAX routes, Air Transport World reports.

“As we prepare for summer, our focus is around planning for the busiest travel period of the year. Families everywhere are counting on American Airlines for their summer vacations, family reunions, trips to visit friends and adventures overseas,” American’s chairman and chief executive Doug Parker and president Robert Isom told airline team members yesterday.

“To further that mission, we have made the decision to extend our cancellations for the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft through Aug. 19,” the message continued.

“Based upon our ongoing work with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Boeing, we are highly confident that the MAX will be recertified prior to this time. But by extending our cancellations through the summer, we can plan more reliably for the peak travel season and provide confidence to our customers and team members when it comes to their travel plans.

“Once the MAX is recertified, we anticipate bringing our MAX aircraft back on line as spares to supplement our operation as needed during the summer.

Southwest readjusts
Southwest Airlines said on April 12 that it would be altering its schedules until August 5 to adjust to the continued grounding of its 34 MAXs.

“While the timing for the return to service of the MAX remains unclear, what is very clear is our commitment to operate a reliable schedule and provide the famous customer service you expect from us,” Southwest president Tom Nealon said.

“Our revised summer schedule allows us to accomplish those objectives.”

The Dallas-based low-cost carrier operates more planes of the controversial type than any other airline, flying around 200 departures per day with them before the ban on March 13.

Other airlines have been axing flights with shorter notice, such as United Airlines which has 12 MAX 9s. It cancelled “a number of 737 trips” for its May schedules on April 4.

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