American Airlines extends grounding of Boeing 737 MAX flights into 2020

American Airlines extends grounding of Boeing 737 MAX flights into 2020
© Twitter/NTSB

American Airlines will continue to ground Boeing 737 Max airplanes into January 2020 amid regulatory reviews of the plane model, according to Reuters.

The airline had previously canceled all Max flights, about 140 a day, through Dec. 3, but now does not expect to resume them until Jan. 16, it said.

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American projected that ongoing software updates will lead the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to recertify the plane “later this year and [resume] commercial service in January 2020.”

The airline has 24 Max jets and dozens more on order, according to Reuters. Once the hold ends, it expects to initially resume about 20 flights per day, gradually returning the plane to full commercial service over the rest of the month.

The FAA said Wednesday that it is “following a thorough process, not a prescribed timeline, for returning the Boeing 737 MAX to passenger service. The FAA will lift the aircraft’s prohibition order when it is deemed safe to do so,” according to Reuters.

The plane has been grounded since mid-March in the wake of two crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that collectively killed nearly 350 people. Southwest Airlines has canceled flights through Jan. 5, while United Airlines has suspended them through Dec. 19.

The announcement comes two days after the union representing Southwest pilots sued Boeing, saying the company “deliberately misled” the pilots and airline about the model and that pilots have lost over $100 million in wages while the airline had grounded its fleet.