United Airlines on Friday pulled the Boeing 737 Max from its schedule until Sep. 4 and expects to cancel more than 7,700 flights from June through September. Summer is considered the peak summer season for travel.
The decision does not come as a surprise considering the airline said last month that it did not expect to fly the grounded plane this summer. The move comes after Southwest Airlines said Thursday that it removed the 737 Max from its schedules until mid-August.
Boeing told airlines and suppliers last month that it didn’t expect regulators to sign off on the 737 Max until the middle of 2020, a date much later than the manufacturer’s previous predictions. The 737 Max has been grounded since March after two fatal crashes — in Indonesia in October 2018 and in Ethiopia less than five months later — killed all 346 people on the two flights. A flight-control system aboard the planes was implicated in contributing to both accidents.
“With the Max return to service date still unknown, pushing our timeline back to early September is what is best for our customers and our operation,” Leslie Scott, director for United’s global response communications, said in a statement to CNBC.
Even if the 737 Max did return before Sep. 4, United does not plan to swap it for any of its summer flights, according to Scott. The airline continues to take measures to ease disruptions from the 737 Max grounding, including automatically rebooking affected customers.
United’s shares were down 1.4% in afternoon trading while Boeing shares were down more than 1%.
– CNBC’s Leslie Josephs contributed to this article