The unfortunate deadly crashes of two Boeing 737 Max jets have left travelers skeptical of flying the aircraft. This uncertainty has urged two U.S. carriers, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, to further delay the return of the aircraft to their schedules. Improvements are in progress to fix the problem that caused the crashes, but how soon and will travelers have confidence to fly the aircrafts?
American Airlines previously announced that it planned to return the 737 Max to service on January 16th. However, the airline has now removed the aircraft from its schedules until March 5th, 2020. This will result in around 140 flights per day being cancelled up to March 4th.
Southwest plans to remove the aircraft from its schedule through March 6th. Southwest’s timeline is later than any other American carrier, and believes the jet’s return is unclear. This will result in the cancellation of around 175 weekday flights for the airline.
Is It Ready?
Since the crashes, Boeing has developed a solution to fix the misfired flight control software that pushed the nose of planes down. Although Boeing says the problem is fixed, it still hasn’t been approved by regulators. “The FAA is following a thorough process, not a prescribed timeline, for returning the Boeing 737 Max to passenger service. The FAA is continuing to evaluate Boeing’s software modification and is still developing necessary training requirements.” American Airlines said in a statement that they will run “exhibition flights, or flights for American team members and invited guests only, prior to March 5”.
What Are Other Airlines Doing?
Air Canada has removed the plane until February 14th, and United Airways is pending a final decision based upon upcoming FAA announcements, but estimates a similar timeline to American Airlines. United’s CEO has stated any traveler that does not wish to fly on the 737 once it’s back will be rebooked. Ryanair also confirmed that it does not expect to return the Boeing 737 Max until March or April 2020 at the earliest.
No matter when the FAA approves the jet for return, travelers will remain uncertain until a substantial safety record builds up over time.