The 737 Max looks likely to miss another summer travel season as United just canceled flights until September

United Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9

  • United Airlines said on Friday that it will cancel Boeing 737 Max flights until September 4. The airline previously planned to return the plane to service in early June.
  • The cancelation comes as the 737 Max nears the one-year anniversary of its global grounding, following the second of two fatal crashes.
  • Although the FAA chief said the Boeing plane may make its certification flight within the next few weeks, it will take time for airlines to get the planes out of storage and ready to fly again.
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United Airlines said Friday that it would pull the Boeing 737 Max from its schedule until September 4, resulting in a second summer travel season without the troubled plane.

United, along with American Airlines and Southwest Airlines - the other two US airlines with the 737 Max - had previously canceled 737 Max flights through early June, but Reuters reports that Southwest recently extended to August 10. United said it expected to cancel about 80 daily flights in March and April, and 108 daily flights throughout May and early June.Advertisement

The 737 Max has been grounded worldwide since March 2019, following the second of two fatal crashes in which a total of 346 people were killed. Both crashes have been attributed to a faulty automated flight system on the plane called the Maneuvering Control Augmentation System, or MCAS. The system was designed to make the 737 Max handle similarly to the previous version of 737 aircraft.

Boeing has been working on a fix for the MCAS system, as well as several other problems that have emerged since the grounding began. Although Boeing said in January that it did not expect the plane to return to service before "mid-2020," FAA chief Steve Dickson said last week that the plane could make its certification flight - one of the final major steps remaining before it can be cleared to fly - in the coming weeks.

However, it will likely take several months for airlines to remove planes from storage and prepare them to return to service. The September date would mean United will go at least 18 months with the Max out of commission.

The 737 Max grounding has caused a crisis at Boeing, including the firing of CEO Dennis Muilenburg and the airline's worst financial and manufacturing performance in decades.

Similarly, the grounding has caused major headaches for airlines, which have been forced to reconfigure their schedules and change plans for new routes and capacity growth. Get the latest Boeing stock price here.Advertisement