Fort Worth, Texas, United States – American Airlines announced that it will keep Boeing’s 737 MAX aircraft off its schedules until next March, following a similar move by Southwest Airlines. The company previously announced it would resume the flights by January, canceling around 140 flights each day in the meantime.
However, it now expects to return the planes to service by March 5, nearly one year after the deadly Ethiopian Airlines accident which killed 157 people and led to the worldwide grounding of the 737 MAX, RT reported. In a similar decision announced earlier on Friday, Southwest Airlines said it would keep the jets grounded until March 6.
Since the plane was first removed from service last year, after two fatal crashes that left 346 dead, Boeing has come under fire for its handling of the aircraft’s development phase, with leaked internal messages between employees suggesting the company “lied to regulators” about faulty anti-stalling software, an alleged culprit behind the both tragedies.
An internal review by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also found regulators often deferred to Boeing on questions of safety, allowing the company to conduct safety testing largely on its own. To make matters worse, Boeing’s problems may not end with the 737 MAX.
This week, a former quality control engineer at the company came forward with allegations the aircraft producer knowingly installed defective emergency oxygen systems on its 787 series airliners, and that the plane was rushed through production at the expense of safety.
On November 6, in an attempt to win back public confidence in the Boeing 737 MAX, major US airliners were reportedly planning to hold demonstration flights with senior company officials, but without actual passengers on board to prove the model is safe.
It was expected the planes would be formally cleared to fly before the end of the year. However, new problems found after an extensive investigation made this deadline unattainable. Boeing’s reputation has been hurt badly by the deadly crashes, with hundreds of orders for the plane being canceled.