Trump says Boeing should fix, 'rebrand' grounded 737 MAX jet

American Airlines is canceling 115 flights per day through mid-August because of ongoing problems with the Boeing 737 Max aircraft.

Carriers that have used the aircraft since it went into service two years ago have had to rethink their flight plans since alarms were raised over its safety in the wake of two fatal crashes.

Senior officials at American Airlines said they were "confident" that the Boeing upgrade would be approved by United States aviation regulators before 19 August, despite its decision to ground its fleet of 24 planes until then.

But by extending cancellations through the summer, the airline can plan more reliably for the peak travel season, said Doug Parker, American's chairman and CEO, and Robert Isom, president, in a letter to employees Sunday. Some airlines are also weighing extending aircraft leases and bringing back idled planes, but with unclear MAX timing, no option is clear-cut or cheap, consultants said.

The Boeing 737 MAX 8 remains grounded in the US following two deadly crashes under similar circumstances within a matter of months.

American Airlines has cancelled all its MAX flights.

Boeing's anti-stall software is at the center of investigations into last month's Ethiopian Airlines crash.

The report said it was unclear when the aircraft will return, as Boeing has slowed production and stopped deliveries as it works on a software fix. The software fix is to include changes to prevent the system from overreacting to bad data, a new set of cockpit alerts created to make pilots aware of potentially risky situations, and a new pilot training course. The company had initially planned to submit its full package of software and training changes to the FAA for review by the first week of April, but the submission was delayed. At the beginning of April, American Airlines expected its fleet of 24 MAXs to remain on the ground until the beginning of June, translating into 90 canceled flights per day.

"The FAA is preparing to make an announcement very shortly regarding the new information and physical evidence that we've received from the [Ethiopia crash site] and from other locations and through a couple of other complaints", Trump said.

  • Jon Douglas