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American extends cancellations through June because of 737 Max groundings

By
Allen Cone
Planes from American Airlines sit on the tarmac in New York City one day after the crash of Ethiopian Airways Flight 302 at JFK Airport on March 11. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Planes from American Airlines sit on the tarmac in New York City one day after the crash of Ethiopian Airways Flight 302 at JFK Airport on March 11. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

April 7 (UPI) -- American Airlines announced Sunday it will cancel 90 flights daily through early June because of the grounding of Boeing 737 Max 8 jets.

The airline, which owns 24 of the planes in its fleet, in a news release said it has extended cancellations as it waits for information from the Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Transportation, National Transportation Safety Board, other regulatory authorities and Boeing to permit the aircraft to resume flying.

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"In an effort to provide more certainty and avoid last minute flight disruptions, American has extended cancellations through June 5," the airline said in the posting. "By proactively canceling these flights, we are able to provide better service to our customers with availability and rebooking options."

American plans to contact affected customers directly by email or telephone.

RELATED Boeing finds second problem with 737 Max software

"We know these cancellations and changes may affect some of our customers, and we are working to limit the impact to the smallest number of customers," the airline said.

On average, American operates 85 flights per day on the Max 8 out of 6,700 departures throughout the American Airlines system.

The airline said not all flights previously scheduled on a Max will be canceled, "as we plan to substitute other aircraft types." But a flight not scheduled to use the Max might be canceled "to enable our team to cover a MAX route with a different aircraft" in an effort to minimize the impact on customers.

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Not affected are American's 304 737-800 aircraft.

Through February, Boeing reported it has delivered 376 Max jets worldwide since 2017.

Southwest Airlines has grounded 34 of the jets and United 14. Delta doesn't fly the plane.

RELATED Ethiopia report says pilots in crash followed Boeing manual

On March 13, the FAA grounded all U.S.-registered Boeing 737 Max aircraft, including the 8 and 9 variants, as a precautionary measure after two of the planes had fatal crashes. A Lion Air flight crashed in October and an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed on March 10.

In mid-March, Ethiopian transport minister Dagmawit Moges said black box data from the doomed flight showed "clear similarities" to the Lion Air crash.

A automatic safety feature may have forced the nose of each plane lower when it incorrectly believed detected danger of going into a stall.

Boeing is working on upgrade of the 737 Max software to deal with the safety issue.

On Friday, Boeing announced it will temporarily reduce the manufacturing of 737 aircraft starting this month from 52 to 42 aircraft monthly.

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