American Airlines has cut its sales outlook after it was forced to cancel around 90 flights a day due to the global grounding of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft.
The carrier has “proactively cancelled” about 1,200 services until 30 June to avoid severe disruption for passengers after the US Federal Aviation Administration grounded the aircraft following two fatal crashes. The airline is the second-largest operator of the Boeing 737 Max in the US.
According to American Airlines, it expects total revenue to be flat or only grow marginally by 1 per cent during the first quarter compared to its previous forecast of a 2 per cent increase.
The Boeing 737 Max was involved in a Lion Air crash in October 2018 and an Ethiopian Airlines accident five months later, both of which killed a combined 346 people. Investigations into both incidents have pointed to a fault with the aircraft’s Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), which was designed to stop the aeroplane from stalling if sensors detect it is climbing at too high an angle on take-off.
Reports suggest the MCAS malfunctioned on the Ethiopian Airlines crash and the pilots could not regain control of the aircraft.
Boeing is working on a software update for the system and plans to submit it to the FAA in the coming weeks, but it will need to be approved for safety, implemented and tested before the global 737 Max fleet can be cleared to fly again.
The manufacturer announced earlier this week that it will cut production of the 737 Max from 52 to 42 aircraft per month to deal with a pause in deliveries.