United Follows American, Southwest in Pulling Max Until 2020
(Bloomberg) -- United Airlines Holdings Inc. gave up on carrying passengers on Boeing Co.’s 737 Max this year, removing the grounded jet from its schedule until Jan. 6.
The carrier, which had previously pulled the aircraft until Dec. 19, is canceling more than 8,000 flights from October through early January as its 14 Max aircraft remain banned from flying. Boeing’s best-selling plane was grounded worldwide in March after crashes at Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air killed 346 people.
United is joining the two other U.S. operators of the model, Southwest Airlines Co. and American Airlines Group Inc., in taking the Max out of its flight schedule until January. Boeing has targeted this quarter for the narrow-body plane’s return, but regulators must first approve new software and other changes meant to avoid a repeat of the malfunctions linked to the accidents.
At the time of the grounding, United had expected to have 30 Max jets in its fleet by year-end. Once flights are allowed to resume, airlines will need weeks or even months to train pilots and prepare stored aircraft for commercial service.
United climbed 1.7% to $88.80 at 9:37 a.m. in New York amid a broad market rally.
In July, Southwest and Air Canada removed the Max from their schedules until January. Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA said in September that it wasn’t counting on the plane’s return until next year.
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