American Airlines extends cancellations of 737 MAX flights

American Airlines Max 8

The 737 MAX was grounded last March after the fatal crashes of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10 and Lion Air Flight 610 on October 29, 2018.

American Airlines on Wednesday extended cancellations of Boeing 737 MAX flights through January 15, running contrary to the US plane maker's promises that the grounded jets would be flying again before year's end.

American Airlines said it believes the software updates will lead to the Federal Aviation Administration's "recertification of the aircraft later this year and resumption of commercial service in January 2020". American Airlines announced in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Wednesday that two software upgrades for the jet are expected to be approved by the end of the year, at which point flights can resume, ABC News reports. Boeing is working on changes to flight-control software and computers.

This month marks the anniversary of the October 29 crash of a Lion Air flight that plunged into the Java Sea shortly after takeoff, killing all 189 passengers and crew aboard. Less than five months later, a 737 Max flying under the Ethiopian Airlines banner went down shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, killing all 157 passengers and crew members aboard.

Boeing's net order tally, including cancellations, was a negative 84 for the first nine months of 2019, also hit by the bankruptcy of India's Jet Airways JET.NS , which resulted in Boeing removing 210 aircraft from its order backlog. Both the FAA and Boeing are now subjects of numerous inquiries by congressional committees, the Transportation Department's Inspector General and the Justice Department's criminal division.

The aerospace giant delivered 63 aircraft in its commercial programme in the three months ending Sept 30, down from 190 in the year-ago period, Boeing said in a statement.

It said on Tuesday that an unidentified business jet customer had ordered one 737 MAX jet, with monthly data suggesting it was converted to the MAX from another variant. Instead, in most instances American will substitute other aircraft in their place.

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