An aerial photo shows Boeing 737 MAX aircraft at Boeing facilities at the Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington, September 16, this year. -Reuters
American Airlines Group Inc said Wednesday it is extending cancellations of Boeing 737 MAX flights through Jan. 15 as regulators continue to extensively review proposed software changes to the grounded plane. The largest US airline, which had previously canceled about 140 flights a day through Dec. 3, said Wednesday it expects to gradually resume MAX flights starting Jan. 16.
American said it believes the software updates will lead to the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) "recertification of the aircraft later this year and resumption of commercial service in January 2020."
The FAA said Wednesday it is "is following a thorough process, not a prescribed timeline, for returning the Boeing 737 Max to passenger service. The FAA will lift the aircraft's prohibition order when it is deemed safe to do so."
The fast-selling 737 MAX has been grounded worldwide since mid-March while Boeing updates flight control software at the center of two crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that together killed 346 people within a span of five months.
Among other US airlines that operate the MAX, Southwest Airlines Co has canceled flights through Jan. 5 and United Airlines Holdings Inc until Dec. 19.
An ongoing regulatory safety review means a key 737 MAX certification test flight is unlikely before November, Reuters reported Tuesday. Boeing has repeatedly said it hopes to resume flights in the fourth quarter, which began on Oct. 1.
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