American Airlines has further extended its cancellations of Boeing 737 MAX 8 operations through Aug. 19, the airline announced Sunday.

The announcement follows a similar decision by Southwest Airlines, which announced April 12 that it had changed its schedule through Aug. 5 to account for not putting its 34 MAXs back into service before then.

American has 24 MAXs in its fleet and says about 115 flights per day will be canceled through mid-August, around 1.5% of its total flying this summer. Some of those cancellations will not be MAX flights but they will be needed to transfer aircraft to MAX routes.

In a message posted on American’s website April 14, signed by CEO and chairman Doug Parker and president Robert Isom, the company said it was focused on planning for the year’s travel period. “Our commitment to each other and to our customers is to operate the safest and most reliable operation in our history. To further that mission, we have made the decision to extend our cancellations for the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft through Aug. 19. Based upon our ongoing work with FAA and Boeing, we are highly confident that the MAX will be recertified prior to this time. But by extending our cancellations through the summer, we can plan more reliably for the peak travel season and provide confidence to our customers and team members when it comes to their travel plans. Once the MAX is recertified, we anticipate bringing our MAX aircraft back on line as spares to supplement our operation as needed during the summer.”

The message continued,” We remain confident that the impending software updates, along with the new training elements Boeing is developing for the MAX, will lead to recertification of the aircraft soon. We have been in continuous contact with FAA, Department of Transportation, National Transportation Safety Board other regulatory authorities and are pleased with the progress so far.”

FAA said April 12 it was targeting late May or early June for approving Boeing’s proposed changes to the 737 MAX and issuing an airworthiness directive that would mandate the upgrades and clear the way for US MAX operations to resume.

The changes are focused on modifying the MAX’s maneuvering characteristic augmentation system (MCAS) flight-control law logic. It also will include modified 737NG-to-MAX differences training. It will be so-called Level B, meaning it can use “slide/tape presentations, computer-based tutorial instruction, stand-up lectures, or video tapes,” FAA guidance material explains. The MAX training is expected to be delivered via a tablet, such as an Apple iPad.

The MAX has been grounded worldwide since the second of two crashes of the aircraft. The first, of Lion Air flight 610, occurred in October 2018. The second, of Ethiopian Airlines flight 301, occurred in March. Findings so far from the crashes—in which everyone onboard was killed—indicate that the MCAS was activated by faulty angle-of-attack (AOA) data and pushed the MAX 8’s nose down repeatedly, while pilots struggled to counter the un-needed nose-down stabilizer inputs.

It is not yet clear how long after FAA authorizes MAX operations to resume in the US that other regulators, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Europe and Ethiopia will follow suit.

In its April 14 message, American reiterated that customers will be contacted if their flight is canceled and they can request a full refund if they choose not to be rebooked.

Karen Walker karen.walker@informa.com