American Airlines announced on Sunday it would scrap some 115 flights per day in the coming months because its fleet of Boeing 737 MAX planes is being grounded until August 19. America's leading airline had previously only planned to keep the planes out of commission until June 5.
"These 115 flights represent approximately 1.5 per cent of American's total flying each day this summer," American Airlines chairman and CEO Doug Parker said in a statement.
But he stressed his confidence in the aircraft overall.
"Based upon our ongoing work with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Boeing, we are highly confident that the MAX will be recertified prior to this time (August 19)," he said.
"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." American Airlines had lowered one of its first quarter indicators in light of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes being grounded, along with the partial US government shutdown and technical challenges.
Earlier this week, competitor Southwest Airlines said it would operate its 34 aircraft of the same model starting August 5.
Earlier, Boeing reported a 19 per cent drop in first-quarter commercial airplane deliveries as the global grounding of its 737 MAX plane hits results. The aerospace giant delivered 149 commercial planes in all in the first quarter, including 89 of the 737 aircraft. That is down from 184 commercial deliveries and 132 of the 737s in the year-ago period. Boeing has been under scrutiny following a March 10 Ethiopian Airlines crash on a 737 MAX that killed 157 people, the second deadly crash involving in the aircraft in five months.
Regulators worldwide grounded the planes within days of the Ethiopia crash, a move that also restricts Boeing’s ability to deliver new planes. Plane deliveries are closely tied to company revenues.
Boeing had announced it would temporarily cut production of the 737 plane to 42 per month from 52 per month. The company is expected to update its full-year profit forecast when it reports earnings on April 24. In January, Boeing had signalled that it expected big jumps in 2019 in both revenues and earnings-per-share.