The American Airlines Company withdrew from its initial intentions of returning the Boeing 737 Max fleet into service this year. The company said in a statement that it had rescheduled the return of the troubled jet as it awaits Boeing to get proper certification from the FAA. This will imply an additional delay until mid-January when American Airlines is expected to put its grounded fleet back to service.
The company’s push-back of the expected return of the 737 Max jet has been quite costly. The third-quarter pretax profit, for example, was cut by $140 million. American Airlines has been forced to operate under a reduced capacity for the duration for which the 737 Max has been grounded by the FAA.
The 737 Max jets were pulled out of the skies globally following two correlated crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, which led to the death of 346 passengers. Investigations into these crashes led to conclusions that a piece of software upgrades that the Boeing Company had installed was to blame. Both crashes had substantial leads that the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, MCAS, had characteristically forced a nose-down maneuver by overriding pilot inputs. The Boeing Company come under significant attack and blame for a failure to undertake proper training on the 737 Max jets pilots.
American Airlines had already scheduled the jets back to the skies earlier but had delayed the occasion more than six times, pending full investigations and corrections. The company operates 24 737 Max jets. Plans are already underway to acquire 16 more before the end of the year. The grounding of the 737 Max fleet had little effect on the company’s ability to operate effectively in the US markets. It has a total of 950 jets, which have been able to operate in full capacity despite jitters in the flight industry regarding the 737 Max airplanes.
The global grounding of the 737 is expected to be lifted before the end of the year, but only if the FAA and Boeing will be able to work out a ‘return-to-flight’ formula. If this happens, it will be a major breakthrough for the Boeing Company, which has otherwise been hard-hit by the unprecedented accidents. Among the changes that Boeing has been working towards improving on the 737 airplanes include retraining the pilots on how the MCAS system works, and how they can override it effectively to prevent accidents. Additional software upgrades are also expected to be installed on the flight control software.