American Airlines CEO Doug Parker has said the only thing keeping the Boeing 737 MAX out of the skies is politics. However since then there have been new issues discovered with the aircraft.
I wrote late last month that you should expect American to push back the 737 MAX’s return to their schedule in mid-July because that’s when they need to send out crew bid schedules for September flying.
Like clockwork then American has pushed back the MAX’s return another two months to November 2, leading the airline to push about 115 flight cancellations per day out further.
- Just because the flight you bought wasn’t on a MAX, doesn’t mean it’s not being cancelled — your flight could be cancelled in order to free up an aircraft that was supposed to operate on a MAX route.
- Just because the fight you bought was scheduled to be operated by a MAX doesn’t mean it was cancelled, you may have gotten moved to a different flight automatically or your flight may have just been given a different plane.
American Airlines has plenty of aircraft of course, they’ve just chosen to continue with the planned retirement of their MD80 fleet despite being down 24 planes due to the MAX grounding.
When the aircraft does come back recertification appears as though it will be done by the FAA in conjunction with other international safety agencies. The planes will need to be prepped to return, and there will be re-training of pilots required. Expect to see top airline executives flying the aircraft as soon as it’s allowed.
The plane could be re-certified before November 2, but the airline will need time to complete required procedures after that. And once again they need to send out packets for employees to bid on schedules that either will or won’t include the MAX. What the November 2 date says to me is that American is pretty sure the plane won’t be ready to fly in revenue service at the beginning of October. They cannot guarantee of course that they won’t push back the aircraft’s return date again.