United Airlines has extended the cancellation of the Boeing 737 Max flights to at least November 3, the company reported on Friday, which will affect 5,000 flights until September and October.
The airline had previously extended cancellations until September 3, following news that the Federal Aviation Administration had discovered a new defect in Boeing's 737 Max aircraft flight software – one that was different from the error that led to two fatal crashes that 346 lives. Boeing's CEO recently acknowledged that the company needs more time to correct this new error and that the FAA must approve the solution before the aircraft is re-certified.
Southwest Airlines, which uses more than 737 Max aircraft than its American competitors, says The edge that it maintains its earlier plan to reintegrate the aircraft on October 1, pending recertification. In the meantime, 150 of the 4000 daily flights are canceled. An American Airlines spokesperson said the company "has nothing to share" about its plans; American Airlines previously canceled 737 Max flights until 3 September. (Delta Air Lines does not fly with the Boeing 737 Max aircraft.)
"We have decided to remove MAX flights from our schedule until November 3," a United Airlines spokesperson said in a statement. "During this period we will continue to take extraordinary steps to protect our customers' travel plans. Looking ahead, we will continue to follow the regulatory process and make the necessary adjustments to our business operations and schedule to help our customers traveling with us."
The 737 Max was grounded worldwide in March after the second fatal crash of the aircraft in five months. The crashes were similar because they were both largely caused by a piece of software that was to help prevent the newer 737 Max aircraft from stopping in certain situations. This software, known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System or MCAS, has made calculations based on measurements from a single external sensor on the 737 Max. It was also crucial that it could not know whether the sensor was damaged.
In both flights the planes tried to fight a stall that did not happen. The problem was exacerbated by the fact that in both crashes the pilots did not know about MCAS because Boeing did not reveal it correctly the software airlines in an effort to save money and bring the 737 Max to market faster.
Sara Nelson, head of the Association of Flight Attendants union, said earlier this week that she does not want the 737 Max to flee again. "We find out that Boeing was a very arrogant company that had the chance to stay in control all the time," she said.