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            november 20, 2019

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Grounded B737 Max to resume service in mid-January: American Airlines


American Airlines has indicated that it expects to begin phasing in the Boeing 737 MAX into service by mid-January, nearly nine months after aviation authorities grounded the plane for safety reasons.
The Dallas-based airline said in a statement that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will likely re-certify the aircraft later this year and that it will then begin preparations to integrate it into American's fleet. Some aviation industry officials, including those at Boeing, have suggested FAA approval could come in the first half of November.
Meanwhile, the airline also said it expects third quarter cargo revenue of US$208 million, down from its guidance of $220 million. The entire airline sector has seen air cargo business lose altitude this year, as highlighted recently by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
The company posted $221 million in cargo revenue during the second quarter, a drop of 15.4 per cent from the year-prior period. For the first half of the year, cargo revenue fell 10 per cent to $439 million. American had $260 million in cargo revenue, up 16 per cent from the same 2017 period, in the third quarter of last year.
American is now cancelling flights on the 737 MAX through January 15 and substituting other aircraft types to accommodate most passengers who have booked seats. It previously dropped the MAX from its schedule through December 3. Beginning January 16, it will slowly increase flying on the 737 MAX, it said.
The airline cancelled 9,475 flights in the third quarter and estimates the dropped flights will impact pre-tax income by about $140 million, it said in a simultaneous investor update.
The MAX has been sidelined since March after two crashes killed 346 people. Boeing says it has made changes to its flight-control software that automatically pushed the nose of the planes' down in response to erroneous signals of a possible stall during takeoff.
Once the FAA gives the green light to return to service, airlines say they need at least a month or two to bring stored planes to working order, train pilots on the new software and slot the MAX back into their schedules. And global authorities could take longer to approve Boeing's fixes.
Last week, officials with the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) indicated at their annual meeting that it would take until February or March for their airline to resume flying the MAX, according to the Associated Press. SWAPA is estimating a return to service date sometime in the first quarter, spokeswoman Amy Robinson, said in an email to FreightWaves.

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