The US and other countries, including Australia, grounded Boeing's 737 MAX planes in mid-March after deadly crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia. But operators of the grounded Boeing 737 MAX are facing a different problem: scarce planes and booming demand.
Earlier this week, competitor Southwest Airlines said it would operate its 34 aircraft of the same model starting August 5.
Currently, Boeing has pilots from American Airlines testing a software update to the MCAS system in the simulator at the Boeing facility in Renton, Washington.
The plane's grounding has also threatened the USA summer travel season, with some airlines removing the 737 from their schedules through August and canceling a number of scheduled flights. All on board both planes were killed.
Boeing last week admitted a newly installed autopilot system was responsible for the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 on October 29, 2018 and the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10, 2019.
The timing of a prolonged grounding could not be worse for Northern Hemisphere carriers.
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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.
The airline's CEO Doug Parker and President Robert Isom issued a statement saying it would cancel 115 flights daily through August 19, representing approximately 1.5 of the airlines' flying each day during the summer.
United Continental, the third USA carrier with Max planes in its fleet, has not yet extended its Max-related cancellations.
"We're not denying that it's going to be a challenge for us", American spokesman Ross Feinstein said.
A decline in seat capacity could mean higher last-minute summer fares, particularly for business class travelers, aviation consultants and analysts said.
Park said canceling the flights now will help the airline plan for its busiest travel season of the year, CNBC reported. 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.