American Airlines Group Inc said on Wednesday it was extending cancellation of Boeing 737 MAX flights to Jan. 15 as regulators continue to extensively review proposed software changes to the grounded plane.
The largest U.S. airline, which had previously cancelled about 140 flights a day through Dec. 3, said Wednesday it expected to gradually resume MAX flights starting on Jan. 16.
The Group Inc said it believed the software updates would lead to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) “re-certification of the aircraft later this year and resumption of commercial service in January 2020.”
On Wednesday, the FAA disclosed that “it 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 centre of two crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that together killed 346 people within five months.
Among other U.S. airlines that operate the MAX, Southwest Airlines Co has cancelled 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.