Two of the three US airlines that use the Boeing 737 MAX jet have delayed scheduling flights on board, the latest in a series of delays over the past year.
United Airlines said on Friday that it would exclude the plane from its schedule until September 4, and Southwest Airlines said on Thursday that it would follow suit until August 10. Both companies had previously said they expected to return the 737 MAX in June.
United said the decision allowed her to plan service during the high season during the summer travel season with more certainty. United said that even if the organizers had authorized the maximum 737 to fly sooner than that, it would not use it to replace the other aircraft.
During the airline’s earnings call last month, Andrew Nocella, chief commercial officer for United, said the company did not expect the Max to fly this summer.
Neither the United States nor the Southwest have updated their schedules since then Boeing said in mid-January that it did not expect regulatory approval of the plane until June or July. A Boeing spokesman said on Friday that the estimate was still valid and that airlines might need 30 to 60 days after approval to train pilots and reuse the plane.
The Southwest company said on Thursday that it had chosen to extend the suspension of 737 MAX flights in light of the “continuing uncertainty about the timing” of the plane’s return to service.
Max was launched around the world after two incidents, in late 2018 and early 2019, killing a total of 346 people. An automatic anti-stall system called MCAS has been identified as a common disaster agent.
United has 14 of the 737 MAX aircraft in its fleet. Another 16 airline companies were produced, with 155 orders.
This story is evolving. Check back for updates.