At the end of the week we learned that Southwest Airlines had extended flight cancellations related to the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX to August 5th.
American Airlines, in a letter to employees, announced this morning that they had extended their grounding of the aircraft through August 19th.
They were explicit, though, that they believe the plane will be flying before then.
Based on 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.
As a result, when MAXes return to service they’ll be used as spares during the peak summer travel season. That should help the operation substantially if it comes to fruition. Weather can wreak havoc not just while it’s passing through, but even delaying return of aircraft to rotation. For instasnce with bad weather Saturday at Dallas Fort-Worth, at one point 57 planes went out of service as a result of hail, and this morning 28 were still out of service.
American, despite their focus on D0 (getting planes to push back exactly on time), only has a goal of just under 60% D0 for July. Perhaps operating with spares in the domestic fleet can help them exceed that.
If you have American Airlines travel booked this summer check your itineraries even if you weren’t scheduled to fly on a 737 MAX. The airline is cancelling around 115 flights per day, but not exclusively flights that would have been operated by that aircraft. Instead some 737 MAX flights will be operated by other aircraft, and flights that would have been flown with other planes get cancelled.
While this may be just 1.5% of their summer schedule, it will still be disruptive. If your flights are cancelled and haven’t been rescheduled you can reschedule them. If you don’t like the flights you’ve been auto-reassigned to, call and ask for specific preferred flights. And if your schedule has changed materially you may be entitled to a refund. You can then rebook on another carrier if you prefer.