American Airlines said it is “confident” that a software update developed by Boeing will see the 737 Max fleet return to the skies but has extended flight cancellations caused by the grounding of the aircraft through 3 September.
The carrier had originally announced flight cancellations through 19 August in order to avoid as much disruption as possible while the 737 Max remained grounded following two fatal crashes.
In a statement on its website, American Airlines said: “By extending the cancellations, our customers and team members can more reliably plan their upcoming travel on American. In total, approximately 115 flights per day will be cancelled through 3 September.”
Last month, Boeing completed a software update for the aircraft’s Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). The system will now warn pilots if sensors produce conflicting data about the angle of the plane’s nose on take-off – a feature that was ‘inadvertently’ made optional and previously cost extra.
Investigations into two crashes that killed a total of 346 people found the pilots may have struggled to regain control of the aircraft when the system pushed the nose of the plane down multiple times during take-off.
The update is now being tested by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), but the regulator’s boss has refused to put a timeline on when the 737 Max could be re-certified to fly again.
Last week, Boeing issued a warning for the 737 family after it was discovered that a manufacturing defect on the wings’ slat tracks could be susceptible to faults or cracks. The company is working with airline customers to get the part replaced.