American Airlines pushes back return of 737 Max jets

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Fort Worth, Texas-based American, with 24 MAX jets at the time of the grounding and dozens more on order, said it expects to resume about 20 MAX flights a day in mid-January and plans to slowly return the MAX into commercial service throughout January and into February.

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.

Southwest, the biggest operator of the MAX, has pulled the plane from its schedule through January 5, but union officials say that target appears ambitious.

The Dallas-based airline said in a statement October 9 that the Federal Aviation Administration will likely recertify the aircraft later this year and that it will then begin preparations to integrate it into American's fleet.

Aviation officials said on Tuesday that Boeing 737 Max jets are still undergoing safety reviews, meaning the aircraft likely won't return to service before November.

"We are in continuous contact with the Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Transportation".

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"The FAA is following a thorough process, not a prescribed timeline, for returning the Boeing 737 Max to passenger service", the spokesman said. The company anticipates about 140 flights per day-roughly 13,000 flights in total- to be canceled before January 16.

Southwest Airlines had already taken the MAX fleet out of its schedule until January 5 and United Airlines has done the same until December 19.

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.

Earlier this month, American Airlines' pilots asked for compensation from lost pay caused by the 737 MAX grounding. In addition, it has conducted two test flights, including an in-flight certification test with the FAA, which must certify the changes before the planes can be cleared to fly. "The FAA will lift the aircraft's prohibition order when it is deemed safe to do so".

Preliminary findings indicate that while the pilots of Lion Air flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 fought to regain control of their aircraft - making life-and-death decisions in a matter of minutes - they were bombarded with cockpit alarms.

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